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By: Compliance Team

outsickPresident Obama Makes State and Federal Paid Sick Leave a Priority: Paid sick leave isn’t a new concept –states and localities have been muddling through this topic for years. ReedGroup has blogged about it many times over the last few years.  Since San Francisco broke ground in 2006 as the first municipality to provide paid sick days to employees, many cities have followed, largely in Oregon and New Jersey.  In 2008, the District of Columbia broke ground by adding “safe” days for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  In 2011, Connecticut became the first state to legislate paid sick days.  In 2014, Massachusetts and California became the second and third states to provide leave for illness and/or safety reasons, commonly referred to as “Sick and Safe” leave.  Meanwhile, the 2014 legislative session saw Sick and Safe leave legislation proposed in 20 additional states.  A federal counterpart, entitled the “Healthy Families Act” has been proposed in every federal congress since 2004.  On January 15, President Obama indicated that he would make paid sick days a priority in the next session.  In addition to supporting the federal legislation, he has also indicated that his next budget will include $2.2 billion in mandatory funding to reimburse up to five states for three years of administrative costs of paid sick leave policies, and roughly half of the cost of benefits associated with implementing a program. He has also supported allocating more than $35 million in federal grants to develop sick leave policies at the state level and to conduct feasibility studies. The likelihood of passage of federal legislation remains uncertain, but it’s clear that Sick and Safe leaves are continuing to gain attention on a municipal, state, and federal level.

California Fair Employment & Housing Council Approved Revised Regulations Interpreting Family Rights Act: On January 13, the latest revisions to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) progressed to the Office of Administrative Law for final consideration and approval (anticipated July 2015). The revisions amend the regulations in a number of ways, including:

  • clarifying the calculation of length of employment related to breaks in service
  • adding interpretation of employees’ rights upon return to work
  • providing significant depth on the issue of reinstatement of a key employee
  • adding penalties for failure to return a certification
  • amending the health benefits section to add requirements relating to payment of group health plans while on leave
  • requiring employers and employees to engage in an interactive process if a CFRA leave reason also constitutes a disability and the employee cannot return to work at the conclusion of CFRA leave
  • amending the Certification of Health Care Provider form

While these regulations haven’t been approved yet, California employers are advised to familiarize themselves with these amendments and be ready to implement them during the second part of 2015.

ReedGroup tracks pending and existing leave of absence laws in all 50 states and the federal leave laws, such as the FMLA, ADA, and USERRA.

Reed Group also keeps you updated on industry news such as sick and safe leave and absence management best practices via our blog and industry conferences. Check us out at DMEC’s Compliance Conference in April.

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