Mandatory Sick Leave

Definition: Mandatory Paid Sick Leave is legislation that requires businesses to offer a specific number of paid sick days to their employees.

Summary: In 2006, San Francisco and Washington D.C. became the first cities in the country to pass laws mandating that companies offer their employees paid sick leave. Connecticut became the first state to do so in 2011. Currently there are 4 states with such requirements and others have made similar proposals, as well as the federal government. The current and proposed laws vary in the number of days they mandate and the way sick leave can be taken.

In Ohio, for example, a pending ballot referendum know as the Healthy Families Act would have required companies with at least 25 employees to give workers seven sick days a year, with unused sick time carrying over to the next year. At issue are rules that would allow employees to take up to 3 days sick leave without any need to substantiate the illness and use sick time to take partial days. The act would also pinch employers who currently give their employees flexible leave or personal days because it would prevent any reduction in existing leave in order to comply with the requirement.

This is a politically popular issue that is likely to appear in other states. Similar federal legislation has also been considered.

The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks current state legislation on this topic.

Examples of Opposition to Mandatory Paid Sick Leave (by state):

  • Tucson talks of requiring paid sick leave from employers (December 2015) Mike Varney, president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber, said no one reached out to the chamber. This “onerous kind of government intrusion into business practices” would cost the city jobs, and the chamber will likely be a strong opponent to the proposed ordinance, he said.
California: (mandatory sick leave passed in CA and the CalChamber did oppose it) Florida: Maryland: Michigan: New Jersey: Oregon: (mandatory sick leave passed in OR, but there were several chambers opposed to it) Ohio: Pennsylvania: Washington: Wisconsin: Vermont:

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Last Updated: 12/29/2015