When Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act more than 25 years ago, one of its purposes was to put a federal blanket over the patchwork of state and federal laws that prohibited discrimination against individuals with a disability. In March 2013, in a blog post, I encouraged readers to watch carefully the paid sick leave (PSL) patchwork that was beginning to take shape. At that time, only one state – Connecticut – and a handful of cities had enacted a PSL law. Now, many more state and local jurisdictions have enacted PSL laws. While these laws, viewed as a whole, have a particular legislative rhythm, each has its unique provisions.
If it were only PSL laws, that would be enough of a challenge, especially for multi-state employers. But there is much more to this patchwork of leave laws. A growing number of states have passed paid leave laws. Here also, while the laws differently, the general concept is the same–providing compensation to employees taking leave for a variety of family and medical reasons.
Of course, 2020 brought its unique challenges and additional leave laws. The federal Family Friendly Coronavirus Leave Law provided paid sick days and leave for employees struggling with the personal challenges the pandemic created. Unless extended, the FFCRA leave provisions expire December 31, 2020. Some states and municipalities passed laws to provide compensation or other benefits for specified reasons during the pandemic.
Merriam-Webster defines “patchwork” as “something composed of miscellaneous or incongruous parts; hodgepodge.” Employee leave, without doubt, has achieved full “patchwork” or “hodgepodge” status. This blog will report on employee leave and related developments of which, no doubt, there will continue to be many.
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