A number of states require the employer to give employees unpaid time off to attend school events such as parent-teacher conferences and classroom events. This includes California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont — all have school visitation laws.
The Colorado Academic Activities Leave Law applies to employers with 50 or more workers. It permits the parent or guardian of a K-12 student to take off 6 hours per month in increments of up to 3 hours each, up to a total of 18 hours per academic year. Paid leave may be substituted for the unpaid school visitation leave, but the law does not apply to supervisory employees.
Illinois provides for parents and guardians to take up to 8 hours of unpaid leave
The California Supreme Court recently ruled that employees are not entitled to unlimited time off to care for family members who are ill.
Under the California Kin Care law implemented in 1999, employers that offer accrued sick leave to workers must allow employees to use up to half their annual total to care for a spouse, child, parent or domestic partner who is ill.
Then as now, there is no requirement under the law that any California employer must provide sick leave to employees. However, for employers who choose to offer this benefit, the law addresses how it may be used.
In a rare unanimous ruling, the court found that the California Kin Care law applies only when a company awards a specific amount of sick leave, and that sick leave can be accrued.
The trend among some larger companies is to offer employees unlimited sick leave, especially under certain collective bargaining agreements.
Applauding the victory for California employers, attorney Anthony Oncidi noted that the law was a “perfect example” of a well-meaning law that resulted in abuse by employees. He noted that many California companies had actually reduced or eliminated sick leave policies, due to the previous restrictions.
In the test case involving telephone company AT&T, Inc., the employer provided up to 5 days of paid sick leave for a legitimate illness in any 7-day period. The sick leave period reset each time the employee returned to work, under a collective bargaining agreement. (more…)
Of course, as with any bill that would change the labor laws of the state, this bill introduced by Sen. Kuehl has already attracted its share of critics. The California Chamber of Commerce, the organization that represents many employers in the state, has come out to say that it will not support the bill as is. It has said the new paid time off requirements would put a strain on employers in the state, and even lead to some of them having to hire and train temporary workers in order to compensate for the employees that go on paid family leave in order to care for family members and extended family members.
The other opponents of the bill have said, according to my sources, that the state government should not tell employers what sort of benefits program they should be able to afford. Some employers could be able to afford to allow their employees time off for such family matters, and in that case, it should be up to them to permit such time off policies to take placed at heir company, say these opponents of the new bill. In the case of employers, however, who cannot afford to give their employees so much time off, then that should be their prerogative not to allow such time off policies at their company.
However, at the moment, it is not up to business leaders and employers to decide what will happen with this bill. They can lobby their representatives and such, and I am sure they will, but it is now up to the Senators of California to vote on the bill from Kuehl and decide if family leave paid time off will be permitted for care of extended family members.
In the meantime, employers should be prepared for the passage of the law, as well as the possibility that a new Family and Medical Leave Law poster, or FMLA labor law poster, would be required for the state of California.
California could become the first in the nation to do something. It wouldn’t be the first time, as the state seems to be always in the forefront of something or other. But this something or other employers will want to know about if they have operations in the state, because it will affect how these employers give paid time off to their workers.
The state legislature is considered changing its law when it comes to how workers are allowed to take paid family leave time off, and in doing so, the sunshine state will become the first state in he entire country to allow its workers to take time off, paid time off, to care for a sick in-law. That means not just close family and themselves, but we’re talking a spouse’s father or mother, or perhaps even a brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
The bill that would make this revolutionary turn in paid time off regulation history is called Senate Bill 727. It was recently introduced into the state Senate by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Democrat from Santa Monica. The bill would specifically give employees across the state more access to paid family leave time off.
The way it works in California currently is that family leave is giving to workers for up to six weeks, paid. That would include time off needed to care for a new baby, or to care for a sick parent, or one of their own children or spouses (or domestic partners). But the bill that Kuehl is putting on the table would allow employees to take this six weeks of time off to also care for more extended family members, such as the aforementioned in-laws, and even grandparents, grandkids, and brother and sisters. There is no estimate that I could find that would show how many more employees per year would be eligible to use this time under the new rules.
Here’s some more facts on that San Francisco mandatory paid leave law, the first law of its kind in the country—local, state or federal—to mandate that employers have to give their employees paid time off for sick leave.
And speaking of the facts—the facts of the San Fran law are that companies must give their employees at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours that they work—for an ultimate total of between 40 to 72 hours of paid sick leave, depending on how large the employer is.
No matter the size of the employer, however, the law might be creating such a strain for them that the city Supervisor, Sean Elsbernd, has said that he is planning a proposal that would ease up the law for the time being on employers in the city. The reason is that the city itself has not figured out how to enforce the new requirements, even though the law is already in effect. A big issue is regarding employers that are located outside of the city, but have employees working in San Francisco on projects and such.
Elsbernd’s proposal is still not approved, so employers in San Fran should still be keeping track of how many hours their employees are working and how much sick time they are building up. Even if the proposal is passed, in fact, employers will still need to do that. What the proposal would do is make it so that employers would not have to pay employees for their time off until June 5, and they would not be liable for any issues or financial penalties until June 5.
Of course, if employers are proven to be completely neglecting the law, or circumventing it in any way, this grace period would not hold for them.