Obama Administration: "Paid leave is a worker's right, not a privilege"

Melissa Schilling Iowa Employment & Labor Law Dickinson Law Des Moines Iowa

Posted on 01/16/2015 at 07:17 AM by Melissa Schilling

On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, a senior advisor for President Obama announced that President Obama will push Congress to pass a bill that would require companies with at least 15 employees to give their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave a year. According to the announcement, President Obama will also call on states and cities to pass similar laws, and he will ask for $2.2 billion to create an incentive fund aimed to help states and cities develop paid family leave programs. President Obama will also take executive action to ensure that federal employees have access to at least six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. The announcement also emphasized that 43 million private sector workers in the U.S. are without any form of paid leave, that only three states California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island – offer paid family and medical leave, and that the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave. The announcement challenged employers to re-evaluate their employment policies to see if they offer these types of policies. According to the announcement, 'these are the policies that will attract the best new talent. They are the policies that will make the employees you hire more productive – and encourage them to stay longer. Keep in mind that nearly one in two working parents has turned down a job because it would not work for their family. Don't let your job be one of those.' This bill will likely face an uphill battle in Congress, where Republicans are focused on curtailing spending and have previously opposed President Obama's proposals to increase pay and benefits. While providing paid leave may have several advantages for employees and employers, it may also be difficult and expensive to implement paid leave. This is especially true for small business owners who lose a large percentage of their workforce when only one or two employees are sick. If you have any questions regarding how this bill, if passed, may impact your employment policies, please contact a member of Dickinson's employment law group. The material in this blog is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney if specific legal information is needed.


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