Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Poised for First Test

By Schoeff, Mark, Jr. | Workforce Management, January 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Poised for First Test


Schoeff, Mark, Jr., Workforce Management


BENEFITS

California will lead the rest of the country into new employment benefits territory in February when a San Francisco ordinance mandating paid sick leave goes into effect.

Approved by 61 percent of voters in November, it requires local companies to provide up to nine sick days annually.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, has put a paid sick leave measure on the agenda of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, which he now chairs. The measure is part of the committee agenda introduced in November.

Kennedy's measure would require all employers with at least 15 workers to offer seven sick days annually to full-time employees to care for themselves or a family member. It would also cover those who work between 20 and 30 hours each week.

The San Francisco law is more expansive. It applies to all workers and allows them to designate a non-family member for care.

Companies may run into technical and logistical compliance problems. Maria Anastas, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine in San Francisco, says some of her clients hire varying numbers of temporary workers each month.

"It could become an administrative nightmare," she says. "It can get fairly confusing. Many employers have computerized payrolls that are not compatible with the obligation to keep track of sick leave hours. …

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