Paid Leave Measures Introduced to Congress

    Paid leave has been a high-profile issue in Congress this year after President Trump and his daughter, White House aide Ivanka Trump, asked Congress to find ways to consider paid leave for working families.[1]  In Colorado, there is currently no requirement for employers to provide paid family and medical leave to their employees. [2]  Several bills have been introduced to Congress this year which would allow employees to receive some form of paid leave.

    The United States House of Representatives and Senate are currently in negotiations over their respective tax bills—Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), which passed the House of Representatives approved on November 16, 2017, and the Senate bill, which the Senate approved on December 1, 2017.[3]  Negotiations between the House and Senate will include discussions about a measure by Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) that will offer a tax credit for businesses that offer their workers paid family and medical leave.[4]  Fischer’s measure was drafted with help from employer advocates like the Society for Human Resource Management and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The Democrats’ FAMILY Act[5], introduced to Congress in February of this year, would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, funded by contributions from employers and workers.

    The Workflex in the 21st Century Act[6], introduced to Congress last month by U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), would exempt employers from state and local paid leave obligations if they give workers a certain amount of general paid leave which could be used for medical, family, bereavement, vacation, and other reasons.  On December 6th, human resources professionals urged members of the House Education and Workforce Committee to support this bill because, in their view, it seeks to lessen confusion over compliance with local and state paid leave laws.[7]

    Finally, the House Working Families Flexibility Act[8], introduced to the House of Representatives in February of this year by U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to authorize employers, upon agreement with employees, to provide paid time off in lieu of being paid for overtime.  The bill passed the House on May 2, 2017 but has stalled in the Senate, with the Senate having taken no action since its introduction on May 3, 2017.[9]

    Campbell Litigation will continue to follow the progress of these bills and will provide updates in future blog posts.

[1] See, Dan Merica, Trump’s budget to include paid family leave, but may face trouble in Congress,  CNN (May 22, 2017), https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/politics/trump-paid-leave-ivanka/index.html

[2] A bill introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives in 2017 would have created a family and medical insurance program funded by mandatory employee contributions. Colo. HB17-1307; see https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb17-1307. In May 2017, the bill was postponed indefinitely, meaning it will not proceed further in the foreseeable future. https://legiscan.com/CO/bill/HB1307/2017

[3] H.R. 1, 115th Congress; see Jim Tankersley, Thomas Kaplan, & Alan Rappeport, Senate Republicans Pass Sweeping Tax Bill, New York Times (Dec. 1, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/01/us/politics/senate-tax-bill.html?_r=0; Louis Jacobson, Manuela Tobias, The House and Senate Tax Bills, Explained, PolitiFact (Nov. 28, 2017), http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/nov/28/house-and-senate-tax-bills-overview/.

[4] See Deb Fisher, The Senate Tax Bill Should Give Families the Paid Leave They Deserve, The Washington Post (Dec. 6, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-senate-tax-bill-should-give-families-the-paid-leave-they-deserve/2017/12/06/720b5508-d9f8-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html?utm_term=.465d61713b13.

[5] S. 337, H.R. 947, 115th Congress

[6] H.R. 4219, 115th Congress

[7] See Press Release, Subcommittee Examines Trending Paid Leave and Flexible Work Polices (Dec. 6, 2017), https://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=402178

[8] H.R. 1180, 115th Congress; https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1180

[9] Id

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