South Carolina Becomes a Paid Sick Leave Preemption State

Add the Palmetto State to the list of PSL preemption states. Governor Henry McMaster signed SB218 into law last week.  The law prohibits a political subdivision from establishing, mandating or otherwise requiring an “employee benefit,” defined as “anything of value that an employee receive from an employer in addition to wages.” Paid sick leave is listed as an example of an employee benefit.

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Arkansas and Iowa have already enacted PSL preemption laws this year. There are now 17 PSL preemption states.

I anticipate Georgia Governor Nathan Deal will sign HB243 soon. Georgia is already a PSL preemption state. HB243 amends the preemption law to prevent municipalities from requiring employers to provide “additional pay based on schedule changes,” a response to the growing interest in “secure scheduling” ordinances.

On the state PSL front, we continue to wait for State Number Eight. Maryland seemed to be in the forefront but if Governor Hogan vetoes the bill sent to him, as he has promised to do, the General Assembly will not have an opportunity to vote to overturn his veto until January 2018.

Of the other pending state PSL bills, those in Hawaii, Rhode Island and Nevada seem to be moving through the legislative process but it is too early to predict whether any of these will be State Number Eight.

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. Continue reading

South Carolina May Ban Local Paid Sick Leave Laws

South Carolina may join the growing list of states that prohibit political subdivisions from requiring employers to provide paid sick leave.  Senate Bill 218 would ban political subdivisions from requiring employers to provide employees an “employee benefit”, defined as “anything of value that an employee may receive from an employer in addition to wages.”  The list of examples of employee benefits includes paid sick leave and paid personal necessity leave.  No political subdivision of South Carolina has enacted a PSL law.

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As I have noted in a prior post, the political composition of a state legislature, and its status as a red or blue state, are significant factors in determining whether to enact a PSL law or, in this case, preemption of such a law. South Carolina was a red state last November, giving President Donald Trump 54.9% of the vote. The state government is a “trifecta: Governor Henry McMaster is a Republican and Republicans have majorities in both houses of the legislature. Based on the political makeup of the state government, it would be a reasonable bet that South Carolina will soon be added to my list of preemption states.