- A House Committee on Education and the Workforce subcommittee heard testimony on paid leave and workplace flexibility Wednesday. Committee chairman Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), said federal action is necessary to address the growing patchwork of state and local paid leave laws. There are eight states and more than 30 localities with paid leave laws on the books, he noted in his statement. "By contrast, 20 states have bans against local paid sick leave laws."
- Testifying on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management, Angie Schaefer, vice president of HR at Safety National in St. Louis, told the subcommittee that public policy on paid leave in the U.S. is behind the times. She also agreed with Walberg that it has become costly and burdensome to administer the various laws.
- Hans Riemer, president of the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, spoke against federal intervention, particularly a proposal that would allow employers to opt out of state and local laws in exchange for providing a set amount of leave and a flexibility option. "[T]here is absolutely no reason to enable employers to evade our state and local workplace laws," his written testimony says. "Our decisions are sound and they work just fine for our community and our employers."
Riemer was talking about the Workflex in the 21st Century Act, a SHRM-backed bill recently introduced in Congress. The bill would create an optional program that would base paid-time-off requirements on the size of an employers' workforce, employees' tenure and their hours worked. The flexible work option could include a compressed work schedule, a biweekly work program, a telecommuting program, a job-sharing program, flexible scheduling or a predictable schedule.
SHRM says the bill is necessary to allow employers to opt-out of the patchwork of state and local leave laws. But that's not the only patchwork employers are facing. A recent poll of HR Dive readers found that 53% of respondents say that dealing with state and local laws is their biggest compliance challenge. And experts say it's only going to get worse.