Obama Continues to Push For Federal Sick Leave
January 22, 2015
During his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama continued his push for a mandatory paid sick leave law by calling on Congress to act and send him a bill. The White House first announced its plans last week in a post published on LinkedIn. Stating that the United States’ failure to require employers to provide paid family is “shameful,” Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett advised that the President would call on Congress to require companies to give workers up to seven days of paid sick leave a year. The proposal, called the “Healthy Families Act,” would allow employees to earn a minimum of seven paid sick days per year. In addition to pushing Congress to act, President Obama followed up on a promise made during his 2014 State of the Union address by signing a presidential memorandum (a tool similar to an executive order used to direct federal agencies to implement a White House policy), giving federal employees access to six weeks of paid parental leave by allowing new parents to advance their sick time. While the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) already provides workers with the ability to take time off to care for their own health or that of certain family members, the leave is unpaid. In order to promote change and action in the state level, the President has proposed $2.2 billion in new funds in the 2016 budget to encourage states to adopt their own paid leave programs. In New Jersey, a bill that would require paid sick time for all employees, including part-timers, was advanced by state legislators in December. In its current form, the NJ bill would require employers with fewer than 10 employees to offer at least 40 hours of sick time per year, while businesses with more than 10 employees would have to offer at least 72 hours of paid sick time per year. For questions related to this legislation or compliance with local paid sick time laws,please contact Dina M. Mastellone, Esq., Director of the Human Resource Practices Group and Counsel in the Employment Law & Litigation Group, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eileen Fitzgerald Addison, Esq., Associate in the Human Resource Practices Group, at email@example.com.