Can you afford to be sick? In today’s business world, the answer to that question may depend on where you are currently working.

If you are in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont or Washington DC, you may very well have a balance of mandatory sick leave available to allow you to take paid time off to recover from your illness (or the illness of a loved one).

The genesis for mandatory Paid Sick Leave laws comes from the city of San Francisco California. In 2007 San Francisco passed the first ever Mandatory Sick Leave Law, which became effective in 2008. Under this law, all workers in the city were required to begin accruing paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, after they had been employed for 90 days. 

These mandatory Sick Leave laws have since been adopted by as many as 20 major cities around the country and are now the law of the land in six states and the District of Columbia. Most of them mirror the San Francisco Statute. North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are considering the adoption of similar laws over the next several months.

Not surprisingly, these laws have become the source of controversy wherever they have been considered. Currently North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are locked in heated debates on similar policies with the battle lines being drawn along political lines.

The Arguments:

In Favor: Proponents of these laws argue that these measures promote a healthy, productive work place. In addition, most of the employees affected by the regulations are employed in lower paying jobs and they can be freed of the hardship created when they have to take time off (unpaid) to recover, or assist a family member who is ill.

Against: Those who oppose mandatory paid sick leave state that it promotes higher payroll costs, and makes creating and maintaining an efficient work schedule impossible.

What Can I do?

If you find yourself in one of the “battleground” city or states, make sure that you make your voice heard by state and local elected officials. Attend Chamber of Commerce Meetings, local city council meetings and local town hall meetings conducted by state elected officials, and let them know how you feel.

If you find yourself in a city or state that has passed one of these laws, there are some resources that will assist you with compliance.

Look into an Automated Time and Attendance system:

Today’s time and attendance systems allow companies to, not only accurately track their employees hours, but most of them will track the accrual of paid time off, in this case mandatory sick leave. These programs can accurately accrue time in the manner most often called for by the new sick leave mandates. In almost all cases the employees must accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. 

Time clock programs can accumulate hours and award an hour of sick leave when the employee reaches 30 hours, even if that takes more than one pay period.  In addition they can be triggered to begin that accrual on the day the employee exceeds 90 days of employment, another common stipulation that must be followed. Finally, in states where carryover is a requirement, these systems can handle the carryover efficiently.

Consider adding a Dynamic Scheduling Tool:         

Many web based scheduling tools are available in the market place today. These programs are extremely affordable, they integrate with time and attendance, and allow for nimble reaction to situations where a scheduled employee has called in sick.

They allow those employees to communicate their absence to their employer, and then allow the employer to communicate to all employees who are qualified to fill the shift to see who wants to work that open shift. This is done through text or email and the manager doesn’t have to start dialing all of their employees to see who might want to come into work. In addition these programs manage employee availability and make it almost impossible to schedule an employee when they can’t work. Finally, when managers create their schedules they will be alerted when they build a schedule that puts the employee in an overtime position for the week.

These mandatory sick leave laws are coming to a city or state near you.  In order to insure your compliance with these laws, and to make sure you can efficiently handle the impact of increased sick leave requests, take the time to investigate automated time and attendance systems, with integrated dynamic scheduling tools. These programs don’t cost, they pay.

To learn more about PrimePay's Time Clock and how it can help you cover these sick leave laws, click here.