Congress Members Introduce More Paid Sick Leave Legislation

November 18, 2009 - by: HR Hero 7 COMMENTS

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) introduced legislation yesterday that would guarantee paid sick leave for employees infected by the H1N1 virus (also known as “swine flu”). The legislation would take effect 15 days after being signed into law but would end after two years.

According to Dodd and DeLauro’s websites, the legislation would allow employees to earn up to seven paid sick days to use:

  • for their own flu-like symptoms, medical diagnosis, or preventive care;
  • to care for a sick child; or
  • to care for a child whose school or child-care facility is closed because of the spread of contagious illnesses, including the H1N1 virus.

Under the legislation, employees would be able to use their own discretion to determine whether they needed to take sick leave. Medical certification, however, could be required through U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulation.

According to Dodd, “H1N1 flu is a public health emergency — and slowing the spread of the disease must be one of our top priorities. This bill will allow individuals with the H1N1 flu to follow the recommendations of the CDC and stay home instead of coming to work while sick, and will also make it easier for parents to care for children who must stay home due to the flu or school and child-care closings. This is not simply a matter of workers’ rights — this is the right thing to do for families, and for the sake of everyone’s health.”

The Dodd-DeLauro legislation, which appears to be modeled after the Healthy Families Act, is also similar to the Emergency Influenza Containment Act (H.R. 3991), a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives George Miller (D-California) and Lynn Woolsey (D-California) on November 3. If enacted, this Act would guarantee five paid sick days for an employee sent home or directed to stay home by an employer for a contagious illness such as the H1N1 flu. Employees calling in sick on their own, however, wouldn’t trigger the pay requirement, and employees would be able to use the sick leave only for their own illness.

Keep up with the latest legal changes affecting employer benefits and trends in employee benefits with the Benefits and Compensation Law Alert and Benefits and Compensation Law for Nonprofits and with changes in federal employment laws in the Federal Employment Law Insider.

Find state-by-state comparisons of  employee leave laws, in 50 Employment Laws in 50 States.

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1 Gin
14:49:07, 20/11/09

I don’t see any minimum number of employees a company must have to be required to pay for the “swine flu” leave. In a scenario where one might own a small manufacturing company, with say 8 employees and 4 of those employees are required to go home, I would not only lose from 160 to 224 hours of productivity, I would also have to pay for non-production. Give me a break.

2 db
15:16:10, 20/11/09

Gin – nice to see you are so concerned for your employees’ well being.

If you force those people to work while sick, they will not only endanger their health and the health of those around them, but they will not be very productive. Would you rather pay a sick employee to stay home a few days and get better and back to work at 100%, or have a sick employee at work, paying them to work at half their productivity level for a couple weeks – maybe even overtime since they will not be able to perform as well while sick? Seems to me, if all you care about is money, you would see that paying the employee to stay home and get better faster, and not infect other employees, is the much wiser option.

I can’t help but want to point out, though, that an employee who is treated well and fairly, will return the favor in kind; working more efficiently and loyally, and will stay with your company longer.

If you cannot think of them as people, maybe try to think of them as investments, and maybe you will treat them better and both you and the employees will have happier results.

3 Gin
16:38:05, 20/11/09


You have misinterpreted my post. I am concerned about the employee’s health. Yes, I believe they should stay home if they are truly sick; the employer should not have to send them home. Perhaps your employer doesn’t have employees who are provided sick leave and take it for any little headache. Mine does. Then when they really need it, guess what — no time available.

My business does not fit the scenario I questioned; however, I can understand that there are just so many expenses a company can absorb before the business has to call it quits. Then that sick person could become unemployed.

4 RH
17:54:24, 22/11/09

Just like Rahm Emanuel said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” The Democrates and the Obama admisnistration are using H1N1 to push their socialist agenda again.

This legislation is another step towards total government control of business and a tax on business no matter how kind hearted and caring it appears to be. That tax will be paid in turn by the consumer. If the employer can’t pass on the increased costs to the consumer, it will go out of business and the employees can sit home sick and unemployed all they want on the tax payer unemployment dole.

Keep government out of business. If employers don’t provide what employees want, the employee has the right to quit and find an employer who does. If the employer can’t find workers because the employer doesn’t provide enough incentive, the employer will adapt and provide.

5 Frances
22:53:05, 23/11/09

RH you are absolutely correct. Businesses are not social organizations, they are run for profit to produce goods or services. The government has overstepped its bounds time and again in advancement of socialism. Captialism is the only moral economic system. Unless and until the Feds recognize this the economy will struggle and we will all lose. Vote out the encumbents at your earliest opportunity-I certainly will.

6 ACU Frank
19:34:44, 03/12/09

I’m just glad Congress was in charge of this… it pretty much guaranteed we wouldn’t have the requirements until H1N1 has nearly passed.

7 ET
09:16:53, 20/04/10

RH is absolutely correct…the government needs to keep themselves out of the workplace. As a consumer, I resent having to pay more for goods because ignorant politicians like Obama and the rest of them feel the need to continue “giving away the store”. I wonder if all the Obama supporters are regretting their vote now…I’m sure many of them are.

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