Paid Sick Leave Quarterly: 1Q 2017

There have been so many PSL developments in 2017 that a summary seemed appropriate. This summary includes:

Paid Sick Leave Laws Effective in Q1 2017

Paid Sick Leave Laws Effective After Q1 2017

*Legal challenge pending.

Louvre Sculpture
Photo by Mike Soltis

Paid Sick Leave Bills Introduced During Q1 2017

  • Alaska: House Bill No. 30, An act relating to the payment of sick leave by employers; and providing for an effective date.
  • Hawaii: SB 425 (untitled).
  • Illinois: HB 2771, Healthy Workplace Act.
  • Indiana: House Bill No. 1183 (untitled), to add an “Employee Paid Sick Leave” Chapter to the Indiana Code; Senate Bill No. 3 (untitled), to assign the issue of “paid personal leave from employment” to a study commission.
  • Maine: SP380/LD1159, An Act To Support Healthy Workplaces and Healthy Families by Providing Paid Sick Leave to Certain Employees.
  • Maryland: House Bill 1, The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, and Senate Bill 230 both passed. Differences need to be reconciled. Governor Hogan’s Commonsense Paid Leave Act has not moved out of committee.
  • Michigan: Senate Bill No. 212, the “paid sick leave” act.
  • Minnesota: SF 1794, Earned Safe and Sick Time Act.
  • Nevada: Senate Bill 196 (untitled) to require every employer in private employment to provide paid sick leave to each employee.
  • North Carolina: Senate Bill 174/House Bill 238, the Economic Security Act of 2017.
  • Oklahoma: House Bill 1310, Healthy Families and Workplaces Act.
  • Rhode Island: House Bill H.5413, Healthy and Safe Families and Workplace Act.
  • South Carolina: S. 361, the Earned Paid Sick Leave Act.
  • Virginia: SB 824, Paid Medical Leave Act (rejected in Committee).
  • Westchester County (NY) Paid Sick Leave Law.

Paid Sick Leave Preemption Developments

Alabama: Marnika Lewis v. Robert J. Bentley et al. USDC, N.D. AL, (Case No. 2:16-CV-690-RDP)  In February 2017. A federal court judge rejected challenges to the Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act, which bars political subdivisions from requiring employers to provide employees with wages or “employment benefits” not required by federal or state law.  An“employment benefit” includes paid and unpaid leave. The plaintiffs have appealed the dismissal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Georgia, House Bill 243, a typical preemption bill, passed by the House, pending in the Senate.

Iowa: House File 295, a typical preemption bill, was passed by both the House and the Senate. Will be sent to Republican Governor Terry Branstad for his signature.

Maryland, House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 230, which provide sick and safe time, preempt political subdivisions from legislating on this topic effective January 1, 2017.  Due to this date, Montgomery County’s PSL law would be grandfathered in.

Minnesota: The House passed the Uniform State Labor Standards Act, House File 600, which would prohibit political subdivisions from enacting certain employment regulations, including paid leave requirements. It would void the Minneapolis and St. Paul PSL ordinances.  The companion bill, SF580, is pending in the Senate. House Bill 2107 would impose a financial penalty on any city that enacted a PSL law.A companion bill, SF2157, has been introduced in the Senate.

Ohio: Senate Bill 331 was enacted, making Ohio a PSL preemption state.

Pennsylvania: Senate Bill 128, a typical preemption bill, is pending.

South Carolina: Senate Bill 218, a typical preemption bill, is pending. The Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry has recommended that the bill be passed.

Paid Sick Leave Litigation

 Challenges to state PSL laws

Arizona: Arizona Chamber of Commerce et al v. Hon. Kiley et al. Arizona Supreme Court (Case No. 16-0314-SA). A cadre of business interests sought unsuccessfully to enjoin implementation of Proposition 206, which increased the minimum wage and required most Arizona employers to provide paid sick days. On March 14, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the Proposition violated the state constitution’s Revenue Source Rule.

Massachusetts: CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Healey (D.MA, July 13, 2016). A railroad argued that it was not subject to the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law because that law was preempted by the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA), the Railway Labor Act and ERISA. The court concluded that the RUIA “reflects clear congressional intent that the RUIA preempt all state laws, including the [Earned Sick Time Law] that relate to sickness benefits for railroad workers.” This case is on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Massachusetts: Labor Relations Division of Construction Industries of Massachusetts v. Healey (D. MA, July 9, 2015). In 2015, a group of construction contractors whose employees were represented by labor unions argued that the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law was preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act because resolution of claims under the state paid sick law depended upon an interpretation of their collective bargaining agreements. The federal district court judge rejected the contractors’ claim. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision on December 16, 2016.

Oregon: County of Linn et al vs. Kate Brown as Governor, et al (16CV17209). If a local government must spend more than .01% of its budget on a new law, it is an unfunded liability and the local government need not comply with it, according to the state Constitution. Eight counties sued, arguing that the Oregon Paid Sick Leave was an unfunded liability. The judge agreed and gave the plaintiffs 90 days (which is approximately the end of March) to produce records to establish that their costs to comply with that law exceed the .01% threshold.

Washington: Haberman et al v. State of Washington,  Kittitas County Superior Court (Case No. 17-2.00041-1). Plaintiffs claim that Initiative 1433, passed by voters in November 2016 and which increases the minimum wage and requires employers to provide paid sick time, violates the state constitution because initiatives must contain a single subject and must adequately describe the content of the initiative. The lawsuit was filed in February 2017. A court date is set for April 21.

Challenges to local PSL laws

Pittsburgh, PA: Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Ass’n v. City of Pittsburgh and Service Employees Int’l Union, Local 32 BJ. Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania (Case No. 7 2016). Appeal of December 2015 decision of Court of Common Pleas, holding that Pittsburgh did not have the authority to enact its paid sick leave law and invalidating that law. Oral argument was held in mid-November 2016. Awaiting a decision.

Minneapolis, MN:  Minnesota Chamber of Commerce et al vs City of Minneapolis et al Minnesota Court of Appeals (Case No. A17-0131). The plaintiffs sought to enjoin enforcement of the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance.  In January 2017, a Hennepin County District Court judge declined to enjoin the Ordinance with regard to businesses within the geographic boundaries of Minneapolis but enjoined its enforcement with regard to businesses outside of those boundaries.  The case is on appeal in the Minnesota Appellate Court.

Other Paid Sick Leave Developments To Watch

On Labor Day 2015, then-President Obama signed Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, which requires certain government contractors to provide certain employees with paid sick leave. The EO applies to certain government contractors who enter into certain government contracts after January 1, 2017. While there has been speculation about the plight of EO 13706 in the Trump administration, no steps have yet been taken to negate it and, unless and until it is voided, the EO is in effect.

Last year, the Duluth, MN City Council created a task force to collect information, hold public hearings, and make recommendations to the City Council concerning sick and safe time.  The task force has been meeting twice monthly, has scheduled eight public hearings (three hearings remain) and has posted online PSL surveys for employers and employees. The Task Force must make its recommendations no later than November.  Of course, the outcome of the Minnesota Melee will affect Duluth as well.

This report notes Q1 2017 developments in twenty-three states, seven municipalities, two counties and the federal government. (If I have missed any, please let me know.). Makes one look forward to Q2! All part of life’s rich paid sick leave pageant!