Mandatory Paid Leave Passes Senate, House Agreement or Conference Motion Pending

After delay over reconsideration of a floor amendment to exempt companies with 5 or fewer employees (an amendment that failed), the Senate passed H.187, imposing mandatory paid leave, last week. The bill is essentially the same as reported previously after it was passed out of the Senate Economic Development Committee.

The following are the core provisions:

  • Employers of all sizes must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick, family, and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period to employees working an average of 18 hours a week (the cap is 24 hours of paid leave in 2017 and 2018)
  • Leave accrues at one hour every 52 hours worked, and unused leave will roll over into following years but can only be used up to the annual limit.
  • Although accrual of leave starts immediately, an employer can impose a waiting period of up to one year before a new hire can start using accrued leave.
  • An employer can provide paid personal or combined time off or some other form of general paid leave to satisfy the requirements of the law so long as the leave is available for sick, family, and domestic violence purposes.

Additional details include:

  • Certain seasonal workers, employees aged 18 and younger, and workers with significant control over their own work schedules are not covered.
  • New companies have a one year grace period from the date of their first hire before they must comply with the law’s requirements.
  • The bill does not apply to current collective bargaining agreements in effect before January 1, 2017.
  • The bill takes effect January 1, 2017, and employers may apply the one-year waiting period for new hires before leave can be used to existing employees starting on that date (leave would still accrue during that time).
  • The one noteworthy change on the Senate floor was the additional provision that employers with 5 or fewer employees working an average of at least 30 hours a week could add an additional waiting period of up to one year effective January 1, 2018, effectively delaying the use of leave (but not accrual) an additional year.

It remains to be seen whether the House will accept the Senate version or whether there will be a conference committee to come up with a compromise version.

Employers are strongly encouraged to review the full text of the bill. You can click here to review both the Senate-passed version and the House-passed version, which differ on key points (the “unofficial” versions are the easiest to read).

AIV will provide additional information and updates as warranted, and if you want more information or have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@aivt.org.