The feds are trying to push a new law that could have a big impact on your company’s bottom line.
On March 18, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Healthy Families Act (HFA) to the House of Representatives. If passed, the law will require companies with at least 15 employees to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave a year.
Both full- and part-time workers would be eligible. They’d earn an hour of leave for every 30 they work, accruing up to 56 hours in a 12-month period. Employees would start accruing leave as soon as they’re hired and could use it after 60 days.
Workers would be able to use the time to care for themselves or a family member who’s ill. The law allows employers to ask for proof from a doctor.
Companies could also be sued for retaliating against an employee who uses sick days.
What about your current policies?
The bill states that employers already meeting the requirements of the law won’t have to offer additional leave. However, experts say it’s not clear what this means for employers with all-purpose paid time off plans, with no distinction between vacation and sick days.
What chance does the bill have of passing? In the House, the HFA has 101 co-sponsors and the support of the Democrat majority. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) is expected to introduce a companion bill in the Senate soon.
Similar legislation was proposed in 2007 but was stalled, partially due to a veto threat from President Bush. However, Obama has vocally supported the bill and will sign it if it’s passed by Congress.
We’ll keep you posted.