In Rhode Island, Close, But No Paid Sick Leave Law

Rhode Island came close, very close, to becoming State Number Eight to enact a paid sick leave law, but it came up short. Both the Rhode Island Senate and House passed PSL bills but the bills had some differences and needed to be reconciled. The clock ran out on the regular legislative session before reconciliation occurred. The regular session ended last Friday, June 30.

However, it would be premature to conclude that PSL is dead in Rhode Island this year. The regular legislative session ended without the adoption of a budget. At some point, it is likely that the legislature will meet to deal with the budget issue. Once the legislature convenes, anything is possible, including action on some or all of the numerous bills that were pending at the end of the regular session.

As we enter the second half of 2017, no state has passed a PSL law yet this year. The most recent state PSL laws were passed through voter initiatives in November 2016, in Arizona and Washington. As I have speculated, any time voters are asked whether they would like paid time off from work, they will approve that ballot initiative. If my speculation is correct, ballot initiatives are likely to be more effective than legislative action to reach State Number Eight and beyond.