A newly introduced House bill would let employers opt out of complying with state and local leave laws if they offered a single paid leave benefit and a flexible work option to employees, according to sponsor Mimi Walters, R-CA, one of its sponsors.
HRDive reports that the new program would base paid-time-off (PTO) requirements on the size of an employer’s workforce, employees' tenure and hours worked. The leave would have to be available to all employees -- albeit on a reduced basis for part-time workers -- after their first 90 days, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, which helped design the program.
Employees could accrue leave over the course of a plan year or employers could offer the full amount at the start of the plan year, according to the organization. The flexible-work option could include a compressed work schedule, a biweekly work program, a telecommuting program, a job-sharing program, flexible scheduling or a predictable schedule. The option would only need to be available to those who had worked for the employer for at least year and had worked at least 1,000 hours in the past 12 months.
“To date, seven states and more than 30 jurisdictions have adopted paid sick leave laws, and this legislative activity is only expected to increase in coming years,” SHRM said in a statement announcing the bill.
Most federal laws, says the report, do not preempt state and local laws, leaving employers with operations in multiple jurisdictions in doubt about whether to adhere to multiple requirements or provide the most generous provisions among the laws across all their workforces. This bill, the report says, would be able to preempt those laws because it’s an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) amendment.
So far the bill has only Republican sponsors, although SHRM anticipates broader support.
But that’s not the only action regarding paid leave, with the Paid Leave Project releasing a template to help employers create an effective paid leave policy. According to the PLP, the template is a “new resource in the Paid Leave Playbook, which helps companies build a business case for offering paid leave to all employees.”
Considering that patchwork of laws across states and localities, with five states and the District of Columbia already having passed paid leave laws and more than 18 states actively discussing the potential for doing so, the Paid Leave Project’s Playbook “equips companies to design custom paid leave programs that fit their culture and values.”
The template was created in partnership with Jeff Nowak, partner, Franczek Radelet P.C., and author of the FMLA Insights blog, which provides guidance to employers when administering leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is based on research conducted by Panorama and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) over the past year, and provides guidance and tools for human resource teams, legal and compliance officers and business leaders. The Playbook also offers industry benchmarking and a cost calculator.