More States Forcing Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

By King, Robert | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, February 8, 2016 | Go to article overview

More States Forcing Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave


King, Robert, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Big efforts are underway in Vermont, Maryland and the city of Minneapolis to force bosses to give sick days to employees, in the hope of creating momentum as federal action lags.

Federal law does not require employers to provide sick leave for their workers. President Obama has tried to draw attention to the topic, issuing an order last year that requires all federal contractors to provide paid sick leave.

But businesses say such a policy could harm their finances. Advocates counter it can lead to a more productive and healthier workforce.

The National Partnership for Women and Families, a nonprofit advocacy group, said having paid sick days will ensure that workers stay home when they are sick and don't spread contagious diseases. The group also points to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that found workers who earn paid sick days are 28 percent less likely than workers who don't to be injured on the job.

The Healthy Families Act, which would mandate paid sick days, was introduced in the House and Senate last year, but it has not advanced. So advocates are pushing for more states and cities to take up the measure.

Four states have paid sick leave laws: Connecticut, Oregon, California and Massachusetts. And about 10 cities have such laws, including Oakland, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

Each of the laws has certain provisions about who is covered. For instance, in California, the law applies to people employed for 30 or more days a year. The law requires employers to offer an accrual plan in which workers earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of work.

California also allows cities to go beyond the state law, hence the provisions in Oakland and San Francisco.

Advocates hope to add Vermont and Maryland to the list this year. …

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