Austin, Texas recently became the first municipality in the South to enact a paid sick and safe leave law for private sector employees. The sick and safe leave ordinance will take effect on October 1, 2018 for employers with five or more employees. Employers with fewer than 5 employees will have an additional two years – until October 1, 2020 – to begin complying.
On January 12, 2018, the Maryland Senate joined the Maryland House in voting to override Governor Hogan’s veto of House Bill 1, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which requires employers to provide paid sick and safe leave to hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers. The bill was enacted upon the Senate’s override and will become effective on February 11, 2018, unless the General Assembly passes emergency legislation that was introduced on January 23, 2018 to delay implementation of the law by an additional 60 days.
This emergency bill is designed to give both employers and state administrative agencies more time to implement the law’s requirements. It is not yet known whether there are enough votes to delay implementation of the sick and safe leave law, but we will continue to provide updates on the status of this bill in the coming days.
The sick and safe leave law requires employers with 15 or more workers to allow them to earn up to five days per year of paid leave, which employees may use for their own illnesses or to attend to issues related to domestic violence or sexual assault. Employers with fewer than 15 employees would be required to allow workers to earn the same amount of unpaid leave. We will update this post when more information becomes available.
Summertime is vacation time. And vacation time means headaches for employers who engage in vacation float. Vacation “float” is the practice of advancing vacation to employees before they actually accrue it under an employer’s vacation policy. So the question becomes, if you allow an employee to take vacation time the employee hasn’t actually earned, how do you get the value of that time back if the employee leaves before “repaying” it?
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is out with proposed regulations providing guidance to employers, insurance carriers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities under New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018. Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted for 45 days – until April 8th (although we note that’s a Saturday). For our earlier post on the enactment of the Paid Family Leave Act, see here.
The growing prevalence of the Zika virus in the United States has already presented a number of hurdles for employers striving to create a safe and healthy workplace environment for their employees. These concerns are more immediate than ever. The recent and continuing outbreak in Florida and the emergence of state-to-state transmission within the U.S. reinforce the need for employers to stay informed of best practices for minimizing workplace health risks without overstepping critical legal boundaries between employer and employee.
Massachusetts employers need to take heed that the safe harbor provision in the Earned Sick Time law ends on December 31, 2015. By the start of the New Year, Massachusetts employers will need to strictly comply with the Sick Time Law or it will not be a very happy New Year.
Written by Robert Sheridan
A recent submission in an advice column on Boston.com struck my eye and the scenario should be no surprise to the modern worker. A Massachusetts at-will worker decides to take a “mental health day” and calls in sick, despite the fact that he is not actually sick. He then meets some of his friends at his favorite lunch spot. His manager however, spots him at lunch and fires him the next day for abusing the company’s sick leave policy. Is this termination legal?