Indiana Joins Paid Sick Leave Debate

Welcome Indiana to the paid sick leave debate! Paid sick leave bills were introduced this month in both the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives.

Senate Bill No. 3, introduced January 3, would require that the issue of “paid personal leave from employment” be assigned to a “study committee,” an entity defined by statute. That committee would study family leave, leave to care for a seriously ill family member and sick leave for an employee. It would report its findings and recommendations by November 1, 2017. This bill was referred to the Committee on Pensions and Labor.insign

House Bill No. 1183, introduced January 10, requires private sector employers who employ anyone in Indiana, with very few exceptions, to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, to a maximum of 40 hours per year.  It would be effective July 1, 2017.  A few observations about HB No. 1183:

It allows employees to carry over all unused sick leave, from year to year, without limitation. Most, if not all, PSL laws limit either the number of hours that can be carried over or the maximum number of hours that can be used in a year, both of which limit an employee’s ability to build a large bank of paid sick leave. The House Bill does neither.

It allows employees to use paid sick leave to care for a family member, a defined term which includes those who are not related to the employee but those “whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

It has a provision that needs clarification. It states: “Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, paid sick leave shall be administered in a manner consistent with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.CV. 2601 et seq.), as amended and in effect on January 1, 2018.” I can speculate about what it is intended to mean but it is not clear at all.

As I noted in Blue States, Red States and Paid Sick Leave Laws, six of the seven states that have enacted PSL laws were blue in last November’s election, three were deep blue (more than 60% of the vote for Secretary Clinton).  To the extent there is a correlation between a state’s status as blue or red and whether it enacts a PSL law, Indiana was a red state in November. 56% of its voters voted for President-elect Donald Trump. Indiana’s Senate and House are overwhelmingly Republican. Governor Eric Holcomb is a Republican as well.