Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) recently introduced legislation referred to as “the Healthy Families Act” that would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide those employees with paid sick leave. As proposed, the legislation provides generous benefits for employees. Some highlights are:
- Employees would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, to a maximum of 56 hours annually;
- Leave could be taken for the employee’s own or for a family member’s illness, and for preventative care, e.g., medical appointments;
- Employees who are the victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault would qualify for leave;
- Leave would begin accruing the first day of employment and employees can use it after 60 days;
- Leave would carry over from year to year, but could not exceed 56 hours absent employer consent;
- Employers could require medical certification for absences of more than three consecutive days;
- Employees who leave and are rehired within 12 months would be entitled to accrued leave earned prior to leaving employment and would be entitled to take sick leave immediately upon rehire.