Misc. Monday: Healthy Families Act

Beginning today, Mondays are dedicated to miscellaneous topics/updates that do not necessarily warrant a full day to themselves, but nonetheless are newsworthy.

The Health Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide seven days of paid sick leave each year to employees working more than 30 hours per week.  Employees working less than 30 hours would receive a pro-rated amount of paid sick leave.  This leave could be used to care for either the employee or a relative of the employee.  A doctor’s certificate is not required unless the employee is out for three or more consecutive days, and employers who violate this law may be sued in either federal or state court for lost wages and benefits, liquidated damages, costs, and attorneys fees.

Ohio had a similar proposal on its ballot until the eleventh hour when Governor Strickland – to the dismay of local labor unions – removed it through what appeared to be a public relations maneuver citing that it would make Ohio uncompetitive in attracting and retaining companies.  For those of us who follow labor law, the removal was calculated because a federal version of this bill was already being developed.  If enacted on a federal level, all states would be equally uncompetitive – or I guess competitive depending on which side of the issue you sit.

According to Peter Kirsanow, “Back when the Family and Medical Leave Act was being debated in Congress, more than 15 years ago, some claimed that FMLA was merely the first step toward government-mandated paid leaves.  Liberals scoffed at the prediction.”  They aren’t scoffing anymore.