Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Rep. Regunberg (D-Providence) and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin have filed H.5413 and S.290, Acts Relating to Labor Relations – Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act. These bills are very similar to the mandatory sick time bill introduced last year and opposed by the business community. The bills require every employer to provide employees with 1 hour of paid sick and safe leave time for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 56 hours a year. If an employee is not an hourly employee, then it is assumed that the employee is working 40 hours a week in order to calculate sick/safe leave. Leave begins to accrue on the first day of employment; and employees can start taking time off after 90 calendar days.
Unused sick/safe time must be carried over to the following year, unless the employer choses to pay the employee for the unused time. However, no employee can accrue more than the maximum 56 hours in any year. Additionally, if the employee moves to another division of the company, or if the employee is seasonal and comes back to the employer within a year, the unused sick times carries over as does the accrual of time. If a company is sold to another entity, that entity must honor the sick/safe time accrued.
So what can the time be used for….1) an employee’s illness, preventive care appointments 2) care of a “family member” illness or preventative care appointment 3) closure of the employer’s business due to a public health emergency or caring for a child whose school or day care was closed for a public health emergency 4) time off needed when an employee or employee’s family member is a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.
The key is the definition of “family member.” It applies to any child, step-child or foster child regardless of age; parent, step-parent or legal guardian; spouse or domestic partner; and “Any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
Lastly, employees are required to give the employer notice of the leave if it was reasonably foreseeable; otherwise, an employer can ask for a doctor’s note or proof of domestic violence after the passage of 3 consecutive work days missed by the employee. The doctor’s note cannot state the details of the reason for absence, and an employer may not ask. In the business community this concept is referred to as no call, no show, no problem (at least for 3 days).
If you have concerns about this bill, the Chamber strongly urges you to contact your legislator and share those concerns!