Recent municipal and state paid sick leave laws continue to stir up controversy in city councils and state legislatures across the nation. Here’s a recap of the latest news:

Sick Leave Sign - smallEugene, Oregon – Delayed Enforcement of Paid Sick Leave?

On July 30th of 2014, the Eugene City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance, set to go into effect on July 1st.  At the same time, the Oregon State Legislature passed statewide paid sick leave, which is awaiting the Governor’s signature. The Oregon state paid sick leave bill would effectively void the Eugene ordinance. At the request of local businesses, the City Council will consider delaying the ordinance until October 1st to avoid confusion.

Stay tuned to this breaking news in Oregon; as soon as the Governor signs Oregon’s paid sick and safe leave law, Reed Group will post details of the law.

Massachusetts –Temporary Safe Harbor for Paid Sick Leave
Massachusetts voters passed a sick leave law, set to go into effect on July 1st. The Massachusetts Attorney General issued proposed regulations to address some questions raised by the new law, but the regulations have not been finalized.  As a result, employers are urging the Legislature and the Attorney General to delay implementation of the law.

In a compromise measure, the Attorney General issued a “safe harbor” to Massachusetts employers that have existing, qualifying paid time off   policies (including sick, personal, vacation, and/or combined policies) in place as of May 1, 2015. Under the safe harbor, employers with qualifying policies, who provide employees at least 30 hours of paid time off during 2015, will be in compliance with the new law through December 31, 2015.  During the safe harbor period, employers cannot retaliate against, or interfere with, employees who use or request paid time off.  On or before January 1, 2016, employers operating under the safe harbor provision must adjust their policy to conform to the new law.

Trenton, New Jersey: Sick Leave Law Withstands Challenge
Trenton, New Jersey passed a sick leave law that was set to go into effect April 4th, but on April 2nd an alliance of business groups filed a lawsuit challenging the law. A judge tossed out the suit and paid sick leave is now the law in Trenton.  Bloomfield is close on Trenton’s heels with an upcoming paid sick leave law, effective June 30th.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Paid Sick Leave Becomes Law Despite Attempts to Derail
On February 12th, Philadelphia signed a paid sick leave law, requiring employers with at least 10 employees to provide paid sick leave and smaller employers to provide unpaid leave. Philadelphia is the first, and only, municipality in Pennsylvania to pass such a law.

On April 15th, about a month before the effective date, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a “preemption” bill to overturn the new law. In this case, legislators didn’t act fast enough – and the law went to into effect on May 13th. . Take a look at our previous post about state legislatures attempting to override municipal paid sick leave initiatives.

Emeryville, California – Paid Sick Leave with Some Added Bark!
On June 2nd, the Emeryville City Council approved paid sick leave for employees within the city, over and above what state law already provides. This ordinance allows employees without a spouse or domestic partner, to designate a non-family member for whom they can use their leave. As an added benefit, employees may also use sick leave to tend to an ailing service dog! This law goes into effect July 2.

Stay Tuned!
Employers can certainly expect the battle over paid sick leave laws to continue over the next few months and years, adding uncertainty to the leave administration process. Now more than ever, employers need to be proactive, reviewing company policies with an eye toward compliance and impending legislation. Sound complicated? Reed Group can take the guesswork out of compliance with LeaveAdvisor™ our comprehensive online reference tool for state and federal absence laws. LeaveAdvisor tracks both existing and pending legislation in all 50 states, The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the federal government. We’ve got you covered! Sign up for a free LeaveAdvisor Trial today.

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