“Elections have consequences” goes the maxim and one of the consequences of the November 4 election is that employers in four additional jurisdictions have paid sick leave laws (PSL) to consider. The margin of approval suggests that PSL laws are widely supported by the electorate.
Massachusetts becomes the third state to enact a PSL, following Connecticut and California. 60% of Massachusetts voters approved the law. For additional information on the Massachusetts law, click here.
Voters in Trenton, NJ and Montclair, NJ also approved PSL laws by wide margins, 85% in Trenton and 75% in Montclair. With these two additions, eight municipalities in New Jersey have enacted a PSL law.
81% of Oakland, CA voters also approved a PSL law, making it the fourth California city to adopt such an ordinance. San Francisco, Long Beach and San Diego are the other three cities in California with a PSL law. (While the San Diego ordinance had been passed by the legislature, because enough signatures to repeal it had been filed, voters will decide in June 2016 whether it will be enacted.) The Oakland PSL ordinance was joined with a proposed increase in the minimum wage, which likely added to its popular appeal.
In March 2013, we posted about a developing “mega leave-and-attendance patchwork” of paid sick leave laws. At the time, five jurisdictions had PSL laws. Now, a bit more than a year and a half later, 19 jurisdictions have PSL laws. Twelve were enacted in 2014 alone. Be assured that more jurisdictions will pass PSL laws.
As we have said, the PSL patchwork challenge has nothing to do with the social question of whether there should or should not be paid sick days. The challenge is the proliferation of leave and attendance laws and the lack of guidance about how these PSL law interact with them. For example, how do these PSL laws interact with state and federal family and medical leave laws, disability discrimination laws, and the myriad of other laws that grant leave for various reasons, some of which are also listed in the PSL laws. The ordinances are silent on that issue.