By: Anna A. Cohen and Nancy L. Gunzenhauser
A number of states and localities will require paid sick and bereavement leave, as well as caregiver leave benefits in 2014.
Paid Sick Leave
New York City, Jersey City, New Jersey and Portland, Oregon will require employers, with some exceptions, to provide paid sick leave in 2014. Portland’s law becomes effective on January 1, 2014, Jersey City’s law becomes effective on January 24, 2014, and New York City’s law becomes effective April 1, 2014. As we previously reported, these cities join San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, the District of California and Connecticut in requiring paid sick leave.
Oregon’s Family Leave Act (OFLA) will require employers to provide bereavement leave, effective January 1, 2014. The first law of its kind, employers with 25 or more employees will be required to provide eligible employees with two weeks of leave per death of a family member (defined as spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or the same relations of an employee’s same-sex domestic partner or spouse), up to a maximum of 12 weeks in a 12-month period. Leave may be taken to make arrangements necessitated by the death, to attend the funeral or memorial service, or to grieve.
Rhode Island will become the third state to permit employees to collect temporary disability benefits for caregiver leave. California and New Jersey are the only other states that permit employees who are not disabled to collect state sponsored short-term disability. Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance law, effective January 1, 2014, will apply to all employers, regardless of size, and provides employees with up to four weeks of job-protected leave per year to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law or grandparent, or to bond with a newborn child, newly adopted child or new foster-care child.
Employers that already provide leave that is at least as generous as what is required under these new laws will not be required to provide additional paid leave. Most companies, however, will need to implement or amend existing paid leave and other policies to ensure compliance with the new laws.