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May 20, 2009
Paid Sick Leave Requirement Proposed

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has proposed legislation that would require employers to provide paid sick leave.

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The legislation (H.R.2460) would require employers to allow each employee to earn at least 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Under the legislation, employers would be allowed to cap the amount of paid sick leave an employee can accrue at 56 hours per year. Employers would also be able to have more generous sick leave policies.

Employees would begin to earn paid sick time at the commencement of their employment. An employee would be entitled to use the earned paid sick time beginning 60 days after they start working for an employer. After that 60th day, the employee may use the paid sick time as the time is earned.

Under the legsialtion, employees could use paid sick leave for any of the following reasons:

  • An absence resulting from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee.
  • An absence resulting from obtaining professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventive medical care, for the employee.
  • An absence for the purpose of caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship, who—
    • has any of the conditions or needs for diagnosis or care described in paragraph (1) or (2); and
    • in the case of someone who is not a child, is otherwise in need of care.
  • An absence resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the time is to—
    • seek medical attention for the employee or the employee's child, parent, or spouse, or other family member, to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
    • obtain or assist a family member in obtaining services from a victim services organization;
    • obtain or assist a family member in obtaining psychological or other counseling;
    • seek relocation; or
    • take legal action, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault

Three jurisdictions already require paid sick leave: the District of Columbia, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. In San Francisco, an ordinance requires employers to give 1 hour of paid sick leave to an employee for every 30 hours worked. In November 2008, voters in Milwaukee approved a referendum to require employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees.


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