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Advocacy Alert: Workplace Flex bill

04 Dec 2017 8:11 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

To date, eight states and more than 30 jurisdictions have enacted paid sick leave laws.  Employers operating in one of these jurisdictions often have to make adjustments to their PTO policies, even when they were offering a policy previously.  But employers operating in more than one of these jurisdictions  can have serious compliance issues trying to balance these laws, especially if trying to create one consistent policy. 

SHRM recognizes the challenges employers face in this regard and is supporting the new Workflex in the 21st Century Act  (HR 4219).  SHRM believes the bill would give employees the job flexibility they are seeking, while providing employers more predictability, rather than complying with this patchwork of state and local laws. 

More specifically, the bill takes advantage of ERISA, so employers that choose to offer a workflex arrangement would be exempt from state and local laws requiring paid sick leave.  Employers would have to offer paid leave to full-time and part-time employees  employed for least 12 months and worked at least 1000 hours during the prior 12 months.  The amount of leave would vary based on the size of the organization and the time an employee worked for an organization:

Number of employees employed by an employer

Minimum amount of leave for employees with more than 5 years of service

Minimum amount of leave for employers with less than 5 years of service

1000+

20 days

16 days

250-999

18 days

14 days

50-249

15 days

13 days

< 50

14 days

12 days

 

Part-time employees would receive a proportional amount of leave based on the number of hours worked.  The paid leave could be accrued over the year or be provided at the start of the plan year.  Employers would also have options regarding whether to carryover any time and/or pay it out at the end of the year.

In addition to paid leave, employers would also need to offer at least one workflex arrangements, including:

·         Compressed work schedule

·         Biweekly work program

·         Telecommuting program

·         Job-sharing program

·         Flexible scheduling

·         Predictable scheduling

The bill is the first of its kind given its modification to ERISA and combination of paid leave with workflex options.  It was introduced in the House on November 2, 2017, and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  

Now is where we need your help!  Our board just came back from the Volunteer Leader Summit in Washington DC where they had the opportunity to talk to our local legislators about the importance of the bill.  But they need to hear from you.

·         How is the patchwork of state and local laws impacting your business? 

·         Would you opt in to this law if it passed?

·         What impact would the workflex options have on your employees?

Senator Baldwin’s office has graciously agreed to meet with us to discuss employer concerns regarding paid leaves on Tuesday, December 5th at 1:30 pm Want to join us?  Email us now.  Or if you cannot join us, email your legislator, call them, or find them on social media and tell them you support the workflex bill. 

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