In attracting and retaining talent and achieving the highest levels of productivity, large companies are at the forefront of providing generous paid leave benefits to enable employees to meet their personal and family needs. HR Policy Association believes the best way for government to nurture this trend is to provide incentives while ensuring the flexibility needed by companies to address the needs of their employees. Yet, recent action at the state and local levels seeking to micromanage how employers provide paid leave benefits is seriously disrupting existing leave programs and preventing multi-state employers from providing uniform benefits to their employees. Different state mandates regarding leave accrual, eligibility, vesting, which family members are covered, payouts, and collective bargained benefits often conflict with one another and how federal contractors and subcontractors are required to provide paid sick leave benefits under Executive Order 13706. The only thing worse for large employers than a “one size fits all” federal approach, is 51 different “one size fits all” approaches at the state and local level.
HR Policy believes a voluntary federal paid leave standard would give employers the flexibility to provide uniform leave benefits workers need and desire while avoiding the unnecessarily complex maze of federal, state, and local mandates. The Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219), introduced by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), would encourage more employers to offer paid leave benefits and flexible work arrangements by creating a safe harbor for participating employers against being required to comply with the specific requirements of various state and local measures. Under the bill, employers would be afforded the safe harbor if they provide paid leave to employees, both full- and part-time, and offer them the option to participate in at least one of six flexible scheduling options. Multi-state employers who offer a qualified flexible work arrangement plan would be able to provide uniform leave benefits to their employees regardless of the state they live and work in.