UBP blog

09/14/2009

What employers need to know about the “Balancing Act”, a paid-FMLA bill with a good chance of passing.

Filed under: FMLA,HR compliance — ubpblogger @ 12:10 pm
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There’s been a good amount of talk recently about the “Balancing Act of 2009”, a bill proposed by  Democrat Lynn Woolsey that seems to have a strong chance of passing.

 This bill incorporates portions of the Family Leave Insurance Act allowing eligible employees 12 weeks of paid leave over a 12 month period for the following purposes among others:

  • To care for their own illness
  • To care for a sick family member or new child
  • To place a child up for adoption or foster care
  • To address a “qualifying exigency” arising from a family member’s call to active duty
  • To care for a relative who is a wounded veteran

 If the “Balancing Act” becomes a law, employers in all 50 states would need to know about quite a few significant FMLA-related changes.

A few noteworthy ones are as follows:

  •  The terms of FMLA coverage for “family wellness” related leave (as outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act) would be extended to employers with 25+ employees from the original 50+ employees.

 

  • Borrowing from the Healthy Families Act eligible employees at companies with 15 or more employees will earn one hour of paid six leave per-30 hours worked (not to exceed 56 hours, or 7 days, per-year).

 

  • Eligibility for the paid leave covered under the Balancing Act would be extended to certain part-time and temporary employees not previously included. It would be extended to include employees working 1,050 hours or more in a given calendar year (up from employees working 1,250 hours or more in a given calendar year).

How will employees’ 12 week paid leaves be funded? 

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), The U.S. Department of Labor would manage a joint fund between employer and employee and 0.2% of employee earnings would be put towards the fund

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07/15/2009

If the Healthy Families Act became a law, would you be concerned with potential benefit cuts?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ubpblogger @ 10:38 am
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The Healthy Families Act would mandate that employers with 15 or more employees provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each year to both full-time and part time employees. Under this bill, workers would accrue one paid sick leave hour for each 30 hours that they work and would become eligible to use these benefits after 60 days of employment. Employees would be able to roll over unused sick leave into subsequent calendar years.

Under this proposed law, covered paid leave would include any of the following:

• Recovery from a routine illness or care for a family member that is ill

• A doctor’s appointment and other preventative care

• For victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, time spent seeking help and service

Problem this bill seeks to solve:

About 48% of private sector workers—roughly 60 million employees in the United States– do not have paid time off benefits in the workplace. According to a June 2009 report from Human Impact Partners, 79 percent of our nation’s lowest paid workers do not have paid time off benefits. Workers who are living paycheck to paycheck and simply cannot afford to miss a day’s work often have no other choice but to go to work sick.

Should the Healthy Families Act bill become a law, it could reduce the spread of both pandemic and seasonal influenza outbreaks, protect the general public from the spread of diseases from sick service industry workers that would otherwise not have time off to get well and enable workers to stay home when they have an ill dependent child in need of care.

Potential Impact on Small Employers:

Although the Healthy Families Act would help lower income Americans to better fight illness and care for sick dependents, its implementation may leave a disproportionate impact on small businesses. Unlike with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) exemption which Congress extended to employers with fewer than 50 employees, should the Healthy Families Act pass, only employers with fewer than 15 employees will be exempt from offering the mandated paid time off.

For small businesses with 15 or more employees, a paid sick leave mandate could limit employers’ ability to maximize flexibility in benefit plan design. Especially given the current economy, employers can only offer a limited total compensation package. In order to absorb the costs of federally mandated paid sick leave benefits, employers may need to make cuts in some of the benefits they already offer that are not required by federal law.

If the Healthy Families Act were to become a law, what impact would it have on your company? Would you be at all concerned with any potential benefit cuts?

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