Wisconsin has become the first state to pass a law preempting local laws providing family and medical leave. Governor Scott Walker said the state needs to avoid a “patchwork” of different leave requirements in different parts of the state. Noting that “the provision of family and medical leave is a matter of statewide concern,” the law states that the enactment of any law providing such leave, whether paid or unpaid, by a city, village, town, or county would be “logically inconsistent with, would defeat the purpose of, and would go against the spirit of” that statewide concern. The statute voids Milwaukee’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which allowed full time employees to accrue up to nine paid sick days per year.
The Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees up to six weeks of leave on the birth or adoption of a child, two weeks to care for a parent, child or spouse with a serious health condition and two weeks for the employee’s serious health condition. While the leave is unpaid, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued paid leave.
Only San Francisco and Washington, D.C. require employers to provide paid sick days, although Denver, Seattle and Philadelphia are considering similar bills. A Connecticut bill requiring paid sick leave has passed the legislative Appropriations Committee and is awaiting action in the Senate.