When it rains, it pours, especially when it comes to paid sick leave news at the federal, state, and municipal level. Earlier this fall, we blogged about the Executive Order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees beginning January 2017. Last Thursday the Department of Labor issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Executive Order providing paid sick leave for an employee’s or family member’s illness or other health care needs, including preventive care. It would also provide paid leave for employees to deal with needs arising from being a victim, or a family member who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The provisions include an accrual method (1 hour for every 30 worked, up to 56 hours), certification, carryover, anti-retaliation, and coordination with other laws and policies. The DOL is accepting comments on the proposed rule until March 28, 2016.
Trickling down to the state level, On February 17, Vermont became the 5th state to pass paid sick leave legislation. The law is awaiting Gov. Peter Shumlin’s signature. Per the bill, employers in Vermont are required to provide all regular employees who work a minimum of 18 hours per week with paid sick leave, to accrue one hour for every 52 hours worked, with a maximum of 24 hours (to increase to 40 hours on 1/1/2019). Employers may impose a waiting period for newly hired employees of up to one year, during which employees may accrue time but may not use it. The law is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2017. Small employers with five or fewer employees are not impacted by the law until January 1, 2018.
Diving deeper, Santa Monica, California became the first southern California city to impose a broad paid sick leave law, passing its ordinance on January 26, 2016. The law covers all employees, as long as they work at least 2 hours in the city (and all hotel workers at Santa Monica hotels). The ordinance requires employers located in, or who do business in, Santa Monica to provide employees with 1 hour of paid leave for every 30 worked, up to 40 or 72 hours accrued per year, depending on whether the employer has more or less than 25 employees. Note that these accrual maximums are higher than the state paid sick leave laws, so Santa Monica employers will need to be mindful of the heightened obligation. Additionally, while there is an accrual limit, the ordinance provides no cap on the annual usage of the sick leave. An employee who accrues and carries over hours year to year may use all of those hours in one year, even if they exceed the accrual cap. The ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2016.
Like it or not, the flood of Paid Sick Leave legislation is likely to affect you and your employees. Need help staying afloat? Give us a call at 800-347-7443.