Congressional Democrats Introduce Paid Sick Leave Measure

April 16, 2021

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senate HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced a paid sick leave bill that would require employers to grant employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per year.

The Healthy Families Act does not provide relief from the patchwork of state and local paid sick leave laws. 

Employees would be able to access the leave benefit: 

  • When they are ill;
  • To obtain preventive care; 
  • To address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, or
  • To care for a family member, including a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, 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 outlined above. 

Carryover:  Paid sick leave earned by an employee would carry over from one year to the next, up to 56 hours. 

Existing benefits:  The bill states that businesses who provide a sufficient amount of leave which may be used for the same purposes (e.g., paid time off or PTO programs) would not be required to change their current policies.

Outlook:  The vast majority of HR Policy members provide generous leave benefits to their employees.  However, with COVID having increased public pressure to pass paid sick leave laws at all levels of government, we can expect a growing number of requirements.  The biggest concerns for large companies on any new paid leave measure are the impact on existing programs and failure to address the patchwork quilt of existing state and local administrative requirements.