Employers Taking Proactive Approach with Paid Leave Policy Changes

A wave of more generous policies regarding paid sick and parental leave is sweeping the nation as individual cities and states tackle the issue while it remains stalled at the federal level. Led by advocates such as A Better Balance, policy changes are especially catching on, or being improved upon, within traditionally progressive states such as California, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. Lisa Schmid, who counsels businesses in labor and employment matters for the Nilan Johnson Lewis law firm, predicts the movement will continue to gain traction nationwide. She says employers are wise to get ahead of the issue and be prepared for new paid leave policies early on, as not doing so can result in a host of costly compliance issues and employee relations concerns, especially for large companies with locations in multiple states. However, smaller companies are not excluded, as is the case in Schmid’s city, Minneapolis, where the proposed cutoff of affected organizations is just four employees. “To be proactive, employers should either develop their own policy that’s equally or more generous than the proposed local or state requirement, or build a preparation plan for when the change occurs,” Schmid said. “The rules can be rather complicated, and most companies will need to address policies and procedures for leave-related accrual and record-keeping policies, with care given to workers who straddle across state or city lines, as many of the adopted or proposed laws cover not only employees who work primarily in the state or city in question, but also employees who work a certain number of hours in that state or city. In other words, a city-specific ordinance could have far-reaching consequences for employers outside of that city.”

To speak with Lisa Schmid, who provides preventative counsel to large, multistate employers as well as small businesses, about the recent surge in paid leave policy changes, contact her via email at lschmid@nilanjohnson.com or call 612.305.7549. For media inquiries, contact Aaron Berstler at aaron@kohnstamm.com or 651.789.1264.

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