Keeping track of state and local leave laws has been a full-time job these days. While Congress debates the direction it should take with a federal paid leave law, states have been taking action. Cities and other municipalities -- sometimes overlapping other jurisdictions -- have also joined the fray.
The result is a patchwork quilt of varying requirements for both paid and unpaid leave that employers must follow. For a national employer doing business in many jurisdictions, leave administration has turned into a nightmare.
In 2016 alone, the following states, cities and counties either enacted a requirement or issued regulations regarding leave:
- Chicago, IL
- Cook County, IL[i]
Paid Family or Parental Leave:
- Illinois (sick leave may be used to care for sick family member, also available for child bereavement)
- Chicago, IL (sick leave may be used to care for sick family member)
- New York City, NY
- San Francisco, CA
And the list continues to grow. New York State is implementing Paid Family Leave for employees in the state for January 1, 2018. Beginning July 1, large employers in Georgia that offer paid sick leave will be required to allow employees to use at least some of that time to care for a sick family member. Only seven states and Washington, DC require sick leave to be paid, but the mandates still require intensive administration as they vary significantly.
All this activity means that employers need to be proactive and follow paid leave proposals in those jurisdictions in which they do business. In short, leave administration is no longer easily do-it-yourself -- a wise employer knows when to turn to a vendor for assistance.
[i] Cook County is the home county of Chicago. Various other municipalities in Cook County have opted out of the ordinance.