As expected, lawmakers in both chambers reintroduced the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 932, S. 497), a bill that would allow most private-sector employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. The law would apply to employers with 15 or more employees, and permit workers to accrue an hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours per year. Smaller employers would be required to provide unpaid leave.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the measure in the Senate with 20 cosponsors; Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced companion legislation in the House with 71 co-sponsors. While paid sick leave has garnered a lot of attention in recent weeks, this bill has little chance of enactment during this session. It will, however, likely spur the introduction of similar bills at the state and local levels, where passage of such bills has proven more successful.
Notably, the introduction of the Healthy Families Act fell on the same day the mayor of Philadelphia signed an ordinance requiring employers within the city limits to offer paid or unpaid leave to their employees, depending on the size of the employer. Philadelphia joins a number of major localities, as well as California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, in mandating paid sick leave. In addition, nearly 40 bills that would provide paid sick or family and medical leave to private-sector employees have been introduced at the state or local levels since January 1, 2015.
While it is early in the law-making process for most jurisdictions and therefore unclear which, if any, of these measures will advance, employers are advised to pay attention to their local legislatures.