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March 28, 2007
Kennedy Introduces Paid Sick Leave Legislation

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts has introduced legislation that would require employers to provide 7 days of paid sick leave to employees working 30 or more hours per week.

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The legislation, called the Healthy Families Act, would apply to employers with 15 or more employees. U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut has also introduced the legislation in the House.

Both lawmakers have introduced similar legislation in the past. While Democrats now hold a majority in both chambers of Congress, the legislation is opposed by many Republicans, who could block the legislation.

Under the proposed legislation, paid sick days would be pro-rated for employees working less than 30 hours per week.

Employees would be able to take paid sick leave for their own physical or mental illness and to care for a child, a parent, or a spouse.

The legislation would also require that accrued paid sick leave carry over from year to year, but employers wouldn't be required to permit an employee to accumulate more than 7 days of the sick leave.

San Francisco recently became the first jurisdiction to require employers to offer paid sick leave to employees. The ordinance requires employers to give 1 hour of paid sick leave to an employee for every 30 hours worked in the city. The ordinance allows employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave if they work for a small employer (fewer than 10 employees). Employees of larger employers can accrue up to 72 hours.

Paid sick leave bills have been introduced in several other states.

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