Mandated sick leave is back

Although the bill has not yet been introduced, the 15-page bill draft mandates that employers provide one hour of paid sick leave for each 30 hours worked by an employee up to the following limits for these sizes of firms:

• 72 hours maximum if the firm has ten or more employees; and
• 40 hours maximum if the firm has nine or fewer workers.

The bill will be sponsored by Representative Cherylin Peniston (D-Westminster) and is being mainly advocated by 9to5, the National Association of Working Women (http://www.9to5.org/).

Traditionally opposing governmental mandates on employers, CACI specifically opposes this draft legislation for a number of reasons, including the following:

• The bill draft notes that a worker could take sick leave to care for other “family members,” but the definition of family members is overly broad;

• The bill draft would allow a worker to roll over unused sick days into the following year;

• A CACI survey of members last summer found that 83 percent already have sick-leave policies;

•   Businesses would face an additional administrative cost to comply with the law;

• The draft bill will apparently apply to part-time workers, which would hit the restaurant, lodging and retail sectors hard;

• Companies should have the flexibility to devise sick-leave policies that are unique to each firm’s economic circumstances and workforce without being forced by State Government to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” model.

During the 2009 legislative session, CACI strongly opposed a similar bill, which died in the first “committee of reference” where it was heard: the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, chaired by Representative Joe Rice (D-Littleton). The CACI Business Affairs and Labor Committee discussed the draft bill and unanimously voted to oppose it.

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