In what some might consider a legislative overabundance of optimism, some North Carolina Democrats introduced recently into the General Assembly the Economic Security Act of 2017, S174. The bill requires employers to provide paid sick time, and increases the state minimum wage, and mandates equal pay for equal work, and requires family medical leave, and increases the tipped minimum wage, and ends wage theft, and requires the fair assessment of persons with criminal histories by “banning the box,” and repeals public employee collective bargaining restrictions, and reenacts the earned income tax credit and tax credits for child care and certain employment related expense. There is a lot there. The bill has been referred to a committee. Its companion bill in the House is H238.
Applying my simplistic and always precarious political analysis, described generally here, I speculate that there is a less than 50-50 chance of this bill passing. North Carolina is a red state; almost 50% of voters voted for President Donald J. Trump. Republicans have more than a two-to-one margin in the state Senate (35R-15D) and more than 60% of the House seats (74R-46D). While Governor Roy Cooper is a Democrat, one needs to be very optimistic, perhaps as optimistic as the drafters of this legislation, to believe that this bill can move through the legislature and reach his desk.
The paid sick leave provisions would require small employers to allow employees to accrue and use up to 32 hours annually while others would accrue and use up to 56 hours annually. The drafters deserve a PSL hat tip for requiring employees to “make a reasonable effort to schedule use of sick time in a manner that does not unduly disrupt” the employer’s operations when the use of sick time leave is foreseeable. Including such a provision was one of my musings, posted here, on adding balance to PSL laws.