From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Chris Opfer
House Republicans plan Nov. 2 to take a stab at securing paid leave for workers by offering businesses a shield from state and local obligations, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg Law.
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.) plans to introduce legislation that would give businesses a safe harbor from state and local paid leave requirements if they voluntarily offer workers some unspecified amount of paid leave and flexible work options. Walters’ office has been working on the measure with business groups like the Society for Human Resource Management, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and HR Policy Association since at least May.
The legislation signals a new approach for Republicans and business groups, which have largely resisted paid leave mandates at the federal level. It also poses something of a tightrope walk for GOP lawmakers who support state rights but have criticized more ambitious paid leave requirements in San Francisco, New York, and elsewhere.
“Right now, employers have to deal with a myriad of laws on the same subject matter,” Michael Kalt, a management attorney in San Diego, told Bloomberg Law. “For instance, in California right now we have a statewide leave bill and we have different requirements in seven different cities.”
Walters spokesman T.W. Arrighi didn’t respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment. Sources familiar with the situation said the bill’s timing could be pushed back in response to GOP plans to unveil tax reform proposals in the House.
The measure would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which sets minimum requirements for pension and other benefits plans. ERISA bars state and local governments from implementing additional restrictions or requirements on employee benefit plans.
It’s still not clear what specific leave benefits employers would have to offer to qualify for the safe harbor. One option being considered recently was to shield companies that offer a certain amount of general paid leave that can be used for medical, family, bereavement, and other reasons, sources told Bloomberg Law.
Democrats and worker advocacy groups have already voiced some skepticism about a plan that could water down paid leave benefits in some cities and states in exchange for ensuring that more workers get at least some paid leave nationwide.
“This isn’t something that we support,” Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project, told Bloomberg Law last month. “We believe that all workers in this country need and deserve adequate paid leave and support state and local jurisdictions that set standards for their corporate citizens.”
The measure is intended in part to show that Republicans are open to discussing ways to secure paid leave for workers, HR Policy Association lawyer Roger King told Bloomberg Law. White House adviser Ivanka Trump has urged lawmakers to consider paid leave generally.
“We would hope the issue would be important for Republican members of Congress to show they are interested in a family friendly environment in this country,” King said. “We think the family-friendly environment is critical for the successful workforce for retention and recruitment and we hope Republican leaders embrace that idea.”
—Josh Eidelson (Bloomberg News) and Tyrone Richardson (Bloomberg BNA) contributed to this story
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)