Mandatory paid sick leave push dies at the capitol

La. bill requiring mandatory sick leave fails at capitol

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A House committee killed a bill Thursday, May 7 that would have required employers to provide up to five days of paid sick leave each year, beginning Jan. 1.

Under New Orleans Democrat Rep. Matthew Willard’s plan, companies with at least 20 employees would pay workers who stay home when they are sick for up to five days each year. Employees would accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours of work and time off would roll over year-to-year.

“Our workers are, all too often, forced to forgo pay and stay home because they are ill or go into work and potentially infect their coworkers," Willard told the House’s labor committee. He testified that 41% of Louisiana workers do not have a day of paid sick leave.

Under the plan, businesses employing less than 20 people would be required to offer up to five days of unpaid sick leave each year.

Employees would make the same amount of money at home as they would at work. Workers would begin accruing paid sick leave as soon as they are hired, though they would not be able to take paid time off until they’ve worked for three months.

Employees could take time off for medical treatment or care for illness, to take care of a sick family member, for business closure due to a public health emergency, for an employee’s child’s school closure due to a public health emergency, for injuries sustained by the employee as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or for an employee’s attendance at a meeting at his child’s school in relation to the child’s disability or health-related matter.

Workers would have to notify their employer, orally or in writing, that they intend to take time off. Employers could require a doctor’s note on the third day off.

The bill died along party lines, with some Republicans calling the plan “government overreach." They noted that small businesses will struggle to recover from the COVID-19 market crash, even without additional requirements like mandated sick leave.

“There’s a fine line I feel you cannot cross into the private sector, dictating and demanding what they do,” Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, said. “If they value their employees, they’ll work it out on their own.”

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