Bill would require employers give seven paid sick leave days

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Paul Ross was interviewed for an Oklahoman feature about the Healthy Families Act (HFA) that would require private sector employers with at least 15 employees to provide their full-time employees with seven days of paid sick leave per year. The bill would also cover part-time employees, entitling them to similar leave on a pro-rata basis.

When asked what events would qualify for paid leave under the HFA, Ross told the Oklahoman “absences resulting from a physical or mental illness or injury to the employee, his or her child or spouse, and certain other family members, as well as those related by ‘blood or affinity’” would be covered.  He went on to say that leave would also be available for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.  Under the HFA, employers must also allow employees to carry over up to 56 hours of paid leave from year to year.  However, according to Ross, if an employee resigns or is terminated, the HFA does not currently require the employer to compensate that employee for any unused leave.

Presently there are multiple bills being considered and, though similar attempts to mandate paid leave have been unsuccessful, with the support of the Obama administration and the current makeup of Congress, Ross told the Oklahoman “it seems likely that some form of the HFA could pass in 2010.”