It’s coming from all sides – national, state, municipal, and company policies. Paid time off – whether sick, family, or parental, is gaining momentum as a shiny new and attractive employee benefit. Read on for the latest and greatest news on this topic.
Company-Provided Paid Parental Leave – More Large Companies Joining the Fray
We blogged last week about the new Netflix unlimited paid parental leave policy, and wondered whether the news would kick off an industry trend. It’s only been a few days, and – at least in the tech sector – that seems to be the case. Starting in November, new mothers at Microsoft can take up to 20 weeks of paid leave, and non-birth parents can take up to 12 weeks – eight more weeks of leave for both parents than previously offered. The new policy combines eight weeks of maternity disability leave and 12 weeks of paid parental leave, available to both parents.
Joining the action, Adobe Systems, Inc. announced earlier this week that, starting in November, its employees may take half a year of paid leave after the birth of a child, combining 10 weeks of medical leave and 16 weeks of parental leave. Primary caregivers, including new parents through birth, surrogacy, adoption or foster care, may take 16 weeks of paid leave. The company also provides four weeks with full pay for non-primary caregivers.
Cities Continue to Lead the Way
Pittsburgh – We blogged in June about the ups and downs in municipal sick leave law, from the passage of laws in Philadelphia and Emeryville, to the voiding of Eugene’s law as a result of the Oregon state law. Municipal sick leave is an area of dynamic change – if you blink, you may miss a few!
On August 3rd, Pittsburgh became the latest city to mandate paid sick leave for employees. The law requires businesses with 15 or more employees to provide five annual paid days off to care for themselves or a family member. Employers with fewer employees will be required to provide 3 days.
Still pending, however, in the Pennsylvania legislature is Senate Bill 333, which would prohibit municipal sick leave laws, including voiding any such laws already in effect. The push-pull between municipal sick leave laws and preemption legislation is nothing new, but with the recent momentum in local leave laws, we wouldn’t be surprised if legislatures took a harder look at preemption laws as a way to stem the tide.
Bellingham – Could Bellingham, Washington be the next destination for paid sick leave? In early July, a city council member raised the issue during a work session. Council members didn’t delve into a discussion but a packet of materials was provided, including a draft ordinance crafted by a coalition called Healthy Bellingham. The process remains early in Bellingham, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on it.
Are Federal Contractors Next?
On August 5, President Obama announced that the White House was reviewing a proposed executive order that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave annually to employees on government contracts. The sick leave would include paid time for:
- A physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition.
- Obtaining diagnosis, care or preventive care from a health care provider.
- Caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
- An absence resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
The draft is marked “predecisional and deliberative” – however the President’s support for paid leave shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the White House’s stated priority for paid sick time, including the “Healthy Families Act” which hasn’t gained much traction in Congress. If implemented, the Labor Secretary would be required to issue further regulations relating to the order by September 30, 2016, with application to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2017.
What is Reed Group doing?
The Reed Group compliance team monitors changes to federal, state and municipal leave legislation developments daily to provide clients the most proactive view of these developments including how to think about paid sick, family or parental leave.
For our leave administration clients we ensure that employee requests in these states are evaluated under the appropriate laws and all notifications are up to date. We are already sitting down with our service center employees to discuss upcoming changes. Our software clients will have the benefit of updated leave information through their access to LeaveAdvisor™, our online compliance tool, or LeavePro® our proprietary absence management software.
Make sure your company is ahead of the curve by contacting Reed Group for more information about our products and services.