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January 21, 2015

#SOTU and the #Workplace: A full debriefing of last night's Presidential address

I had every intention of watching the President address the Nation last night. I really did.

But, then I got sucked into the Director's Cut of The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island, the one where the Washington Generals show up first and replace all the confetti with lice. Then poor Lovie Howell takes some shrapnel and, frankly, I didn't realize that Thurston could order a hit squad so quickly to a remote Island.

By the time I remembered the SOTU, the Harlem Globetrotters were busting out a ladder -- sorry, Krusty -- and que sera.

Fortunately for me, and, by extension, you, the White House printed a copy of the SOTU, which I could cut and paste expertly analyze for you after the jump...

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Continue reading "#SOTU and the #Workplace: A full debriefing of last night's Presidential address" »

January 15, 2015

President Obama to push for paid sick leave for American workers

In an announcement made late in the day yesterday on LinkedIn, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, posted that President Obama will call upon Congress today to pass the Healthy Families Act.

More on this push from the President and what it will mean for American business, after the jump...

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Continue reading "President Obama to push for paid sick leave for American workers" »

December 3, 2014

Paid sick leave in Philly may be happening in 2015

It sounds like Mayor Nutter is warming up to the idea of requiring Philadelphia employers to provide employees with paid sick leave.

How can that be? Find out after the jump...

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Continue reading "Paid sick leave in Philly may be happening in 2015" »

May 19, 2014

Should U.S. employers provide "paid menstrual leave"?


In Friday's edition of The Atlantic, Emily Matcher's "Should Paid 'Menstrual Leave' Be a Thing?" was shared over 12,000 times.

The article notes that several Asian countries including Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia, offer "menstrual leave" for women endure painful periods. However, Ms. Matcher mentioned that, while many of these laws are "well-intentioned," many women decline to take leave given the potential embarrassment of having to substantiate the basis for their "menstrual leave" or because they may be viewed as weak.

Katy Waldman, writing at The Slate Blog, says "Thanks, but We Will Pass on Paid Menstrual Leave." She argues that companies with reasonable sick-leave policies "should be able to accommodate these women without prying into their pants."

Well, I should hope so.

Most sick-leave policies I've seen don't require a doctor's note for missing a day or two. And most cities that have enacted paid-sick-leave laws have followed suit and don't require employees to substantiate calling out sick for a day or two.

But, even without a formal sick-leave policy, while conceding that I have no personal experience with a painful period, I would imagine that, bad menstrual pain could qualify as a "serious health condition," which would allow an employee to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

And how about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Even though it is episodic, and temporary, if it interferes with a major life activity, theoretically, bad menstrual pain may qualify as a disability under the ADA. This would trigger the potential obligation for an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation -- maybe, time off.

So, I think we have this covered without offering separate "paid menstrual leave."

But what do you think? Should American employers offer "paid menstrual leave?" Please let me know in the comments below.

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If you're on LinkedIn, consider joining the discussion of news, trends and insights in employment law, HR, and the workplace, by becoming a member of The Employer Handbook LinkedIn Group. Tell 'em Meyer sent you.

November 14, 2013

New bill in PA House would erase many local paid-sick-leave laws


Earlier this year, the City of Philadelphia got this close to passing a bill requiring local employers to provide paid sick leave to employee.

PA Rep. Seth Grove (York County-R), wants to make sure there are no such close calls in the future.

Late last month, Rep. Grove introduced this bill in the PA House of Representatives, geared towards "providing statewide uniformity regarding vacation and other forms of leave mandated by political subdivisions." 

Specifically, Rep. Grove's bill, if passed, will prohibit PA municipalities from "requiring an employer to provide an employee or class of employees with vacation or other forms of leave from employment, paid or unpaid, that is not required by Federal or State law, and may not require an employer to compensate an employee for any vacation or other forms of leave for which Federal or State law does not require the employee to be compensated."

(The bill, if passed, would not affect paid-sick-leave laws for municipal employees, such as the one presently in effect in Philadelphia. Although, Philly's law is broad enough to affect employers who do business with Philadelphia. So, who knows?)

In a September 16 memo, Rep. Grove lamented that local paid-sick-leave laws "create an uneven playing field for the businesses located inside the municipality," while "businesses with more than one location are forced to comply with a variety of different and changing mandates."

Brendan Fischer at reports here that this bill is on the fast track in PA. Right now, the bill sits in Committee.

I'll add updates as the bill advances through the House.

April 18, 2013

RIP: Philadelphia Paid Sick Leave Bill

** picks up phone dorks out in his bluetooth VOIP-compatible headset **

Thumbnail image for philadelphia.jpgThe Employer Handbook: "Nyello."

Two Weeks Ago: "Hi Handbook. This is "Two Weeks Ago" calling. I wanted to let you know that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" Bill, also known as the paid sick leave legislation. I read about that legislation on your blog back in February, and I was wondering when you were going to get around to updating your readers."

Handbook: "Yeah, I meant to write about ---. Hold please. I have another call coming in. Hello?"

Last Week: "Hi there. It's "Last Week." Is now a good time? I tried to contact you -- well -- last week, to find out why you hadn't told your readers that Councilman Greenlee didn't have the votes to override Mayor Nutter's veto of Philly's paid sick leave bill. You ok? I'm concerned."

Handbook: "I'm fine. Just been busy, I guess."

LW: "Because now paid sick leave is done in Philly. And I know you target local readers. Look, if you need some help over there..."

Handbook: "I'm cool. It's all good."

LW: "You sure? I mean --"

Handbook: "Hey, Last Week. I'm fine. How's your employment-law blog, the one that gets thousands of hits going? Oh wait, you don't have one, do you?"

LW: "Hey, no need to get testy, nerd."

Handbook: "I got your nerd right here. ** grimaces at crappiness of that lame comeback ** And why don't you come say that ish to my face? Oh wait, you can't, can you? Last. Week." ** swish **

LW: "Hey, I'm not one who is going to blog about a made-up conversation with "Two Weeks Ago" and "Last Week." You're going to blog about this, aren't you? You're going to blog about this..."

** sigh **

February 7, 2013

Paid Sick Leave In Philadelphia - Round 2

philadelphia.jpg Reporter: Rock, you got anything derogatory to say about the champ? 

Rocky Balboa: Derogatory? Yeah. He's great.

{Just needed to get that out of my system}

Guess what's back in Philadelphia City Council. It's the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" Bill, otherwise known as paid sick leave.

Here is a breakdown of the bill:

  • Who is covered? Philadelphia businesses employing six or more people.
  • How does sick time accrue? Employees would accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked in Philadelphia, up to a maximum of 56 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year. (Employees in business of 6-10 employees accrue a maximum of 32 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year).
  • When does sick time begin to accrue? When employment begins. However, employees would not be able to use any paid sick time under 90 days later, at the earliest.
  • What can employees use sick time for? Themselves, sick family members, and absences due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.
  • Does sick time carry-over from year to year? Yes, but it can't exceed 56 hours (32 hours) in any one year.
  • Can an employment implement more generous paid sick leave policies? As far as the City is concerned, please do.
  • What's the penalty for violating the law?  An employee may file interference or retaliation claims in court. A prevailing plaintiff gets actual damages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, and reasonable attorney's fees.

Now some of you may be thinking, "Eric doesn't Philadelphia already have paid sick leave?" Yes, but only for City employees and certain employers who do business with the City. More on that here.

Others of you may be thinking, "Eric, this Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces bill sounds awfully familiar. Where have I seen it before?" You saw it here, silly, back in 2011. City Council proposed a very similar version of the bill and Mayor Nutter vetoed it. Since that time, however, Seattle, Washington and the State of Connecticut have mandated paid sick leave. 

Will Philadelphia join the ranks?

You'll just have to click here everyday -- EVERY day -- to find out.

October 19, 2012

10 excuses for missing work that are more creative than yours

Personal Breathalyzer with keysSorry about that hangnail. Get well soon and thank you for fighting through the agony to read this post. I'll make it worth your while.

It's that time of year again: roadtrip with the boys to the FourLoko distillery CareerBuilder's Annual Survey of the "Most Unusual Excuses Employees Gave for Calling In Sick." In last year's survey, "Employee's 12-year-old daughter stole his car and he had no other way to work. Employee didn't want to report it to the police" topped the list.

Find out what made the Top 10 this year, after the jump...

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Continue reading "10 excuses for missing work that are more creative than yours" »

July 2, 2012

Paid sick leave now in effect in Philadelphia

As of yesterday, July 1, 2012, covered employers in Philadelphia are now required to afford sick leave to certain employees. Here is a copy of the new law. You'll also need to read this bill to have any chance at making heads or tails of the new sick-leave requirements. 

But, I'll give you a brief summary of the new law after the jump...

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Continue reading "Paid sick leave now in effect in Philadelphia" »

October 18, 2011

Paid-sick leave may become a requirement in Philly after all

phillyskyline.JPGOn June 29, The Employer Handbook reported here that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" bill. This bill would have required businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees who work a minimum number of hours in Philadelphia County.

Ah, but the times, they are a-becoming quite different. Right Connecticut and Seattle?

BNA reports here (subscription required) that Mayor Nutter is expected to sign this narrower paid-sick-leave legislation into law. If passed, it would require certain city contractors to provide workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to to certain maximums based on number of employees. The new law, if passed, will take effect on July 1, 2012.

For more information about whether your business may qualify, subject to the standard disclaimer, drop me a line.

Photo Credit:

June 30, 2011

Philadelphia's Mayor vetoes a proposed mandatory-sick-pay bill

Thumbnail image for philly.jpg

Yesterday afternoon, in a letter to City Council, Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces" bill. This bill, discussed in a previous blog post, would have required businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees who work a minimum number of hours in Philadelphia County.

On June 16, City Council passed a watered-down version of the bill by a razor-thin 9-8 vote. 

Here is a copy of the amended bill. 

Here is a copy of the old version. 

Here is a comparison of the new bill to the old bill.

It will take a 2/3rds majority to override the veto. So, 3 nays will have to become ayes. Otherwise, we will have to wait to see what happens when new City Council members are seated in 2012.

May 23, 2011

Before taking medical leave in Cancun, read this...

crayon.jpgCan a company create and enforce a policy that requires employees on paid sick leave to remain close to their homes, unless they obtain the company's permission?

Would that policy infringe on an employee's FMLA rights?

Good questions.

The answers are after the jump.

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Continue reading "Before taking medical leave in Cancun, read this..." »

March 24, 2011

Will Philly employers soon be required to offer paid sick leave?


Two Philadelphia posts in a single week. That's called keeping it real.

For local employers, keeping it real may mean moving out of the city, as the cost of doing business in Philadelphia could be on the rise.

Check out this post I did for The Legal Intelligencer about a bill that City Council is currently considering that would require businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees who work a minimum number of hours in Philadelphia County.