Vermont Joins the Growing List of States Mandating Paid Time Off
Anyone who attends my HR Best Practices webinars and/or reads these Tips regularly will not be surprised to learn that advocates for laws entitling certain employees to paid time off or paid sick leave have experienced several recent successes. Not at the federal level certainly, but at the state and municipal level advocates have been able to convince lawmakers in many jurisdictions that employees need time off for the betterment of their families and health. With the support of health policy advocates in and outside the federal and state governments, advocates for paid time off or paid sick leave have found a newer ally in the fight to change public policy.
These past weeks have seen a continuation of this trend. Yesterday (March 10, 2016) the MN Senate put forward a bill not dissimilar to the one introduced last year seeking to create an insurance pool from which eligible employees would be paid for time off work due to FMLA-like reasons akin to the payment and taxation of unemployment benefits. The day before (March 9) the state of Vermont became the fifth state to pass a paid sick leave law entitling certain eligible employees to paid time off. This week Vermont joined California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon as states that now mandate some form of paid leave for private sector employees working in those states.
Cities and municipalities have been more robust in their desires to give private sector employees paid time off. To date, approximately twenty-four municipalities, including New York, San Francisco, Montgomery County Maryland, Seattle, Washington D.C., Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Tacoma, have passed some form of paid leave law that affects private sector employers and employees. Minneapolis and St. Paul are not likely to be far behind this trend of municipalities requiring private sector employers to provide paid time off benefits. In January the City of St. Paul created a task force to examine the efficacy of paid sick leave for employees in the city and get buy-in from the business community, joining its sister city (Minneapolis) in the seeming desire among public officials in both municipalities to provide mandatory paid time off for certain employees within their jurisdictions.
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