Paid sick leave bill narrowed in scope

February 23, 2021

HB 2137 (Guzman) as originally written would have required employers of certain essential workers, including local governments, to allow these employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to respond to individual health conditions or care for a family member. The types of local employees originally covered under the bill included law-enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, educators and support staff, transportation workers, and jail personnel. Additional employees originally covered included health care workers, domestic workers, food manufacturing and supplier workers, and home health care workers. The bill provides that an employee would be eligible for paid sick leave if the employee works on average at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month. The bill provides for an employee to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave benefit for every 30 hours worked.

On February 22, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee reported the bill with substitute language that narrowed the category of eligible employee to home health care workers not licensed, registered, or certified by a health regulatory board with the Department of Health Professions, employed by a hospital licensed by the Department of Health, and works, on average, no more than 30 hours per month. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, which reported the bill on the same day, 11-4.

This development is notable given the failure of similar efforts during the 2020 General Assembly session and additional legislation during the 2021 session that would have 1) required paid sick leave be provided by all employers with more than 25 employees (SB 1159 (Favola)), 2) required paid sick leave be provided by all employers with more than 35 employees (HB 2103 (Reid)), and, 3) require hazard pay be provided for certain essential workers (HB 2015 (Ayala)). The effort to expand to other employee categories the requirement that paid sick leave be provided by employers will likely be renewed in future General Assembly sessions.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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