Nietzsche and Paid Sick Leave

Writing about PSL bills being introduced in legislatures reminds me of the 19th century Prussian philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s cosmological doctrine of eternal recurrence: everything will repeat and recur, forever. Think Groundhog Day.

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PSL bills are introduced regularly, sometimes for the second, third or fourth time. Proponents espouse passionately some version of the mantra that an employee should not have to choose between his or her health or family’s health and a paycheck. Opponents argue as passionately that imposing a PSL requirement will lead to job loss, business closures and hurt the very people PSL was intended to help. Advocacy groups do PSL impact studies. Not surprisingly, the study outcomes always support the advocacy group’s position on PSL. And on and on it goes.

With a hat tip to Nietzsche, at least nine PSL bills have been introduced recently in state legislatures. I have already reported here and here on PSL bills in Alaska, Indiana, Maryland and Nevada. Bills have also been introduced in Maine, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina. Some bill sponsors, those in “trifecta” Republican states especially, must know that their bills have little chance of being enacted but that does not seem to deter them. There is always next session. Eternal recurrence.

In Michigan, Senate Bill No. 212, the “paid sick leave” act, would require all employers other than the federal government, effective January 1, 2018, to allow employees to accrue PSL at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, to a maximum of 40 hours for employees of employers with fewer than ten employees, and 72 hours for employees of employers with at least ten employees.

In Oklahoma, the proposed Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, HB 1310,  would require employers, effective November 1, 2017, to allow employees to accrue PSL at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, to a maximum of 40 hours annually. Kudos to Oklahoma for including a provision requiring that, for foreseeable PSL use, employees must “make a reasonable effort to schedule the use of earned paid sick time in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.” Including such a provision was one of my PSL musings, posted here.

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that a host of Rhode Island House Democrats had created a “Fair Shot Agenda,” a component of which was a PSL bill.  The bill, H.5413, entitled the “Healthy and Safe Families and Workplace Act,” would require all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, effective January 1, 2018, to allow employees to accrue PSL at the rate of one hour for each 30 hours worked to a maximum of 56 hours annually.

The South Carolina bill establishing the Earned Paid Sick Leave Act, S.361, would allow employees, effective January 1, 2018, to accrue paid time off at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked to a maximum of 56 hours at employers with more than ten employees, lower maximums for smaller employers.

A Maine senator reported in a newspaper that she has introduced a bill  to “guarantee sick leave for every worker in Maine.” The bill is not yet posted on the legislature site..

I suspect strongly that more PSL bills will be introduced this legislative term and the next and the next and that I will write about all of them.  Eternal recurrence.