142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Comparative Analysis of Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Laws in the United States

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, MPH, MS , Survey Research Group, Public Health Institute, Sacramento, CA
Kat DeBurgh, MPH , Health Officers Association of California, Sacramento, CA
Charleen Hsuan, JD , Department of Health Policy & Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Dawn Jacobson, MD, MPH , Public Health Institute, Walnut Creek, CA
Background: Mandatory paid sick leave laws have the potential to improve public health by making sure sick employees can stay home when ill or care for ill family members when needed.

Objectives: Conduct a policy and legal scan of mandatory paid sick leave laws and ordinances at the state and local levels, and identify key similarities and differences in implementation and enforcement.

Methods: We conducted a policy and legal analysis of mandatory paid sick leave laws and ordinances that have been passed or were attempted to be passed in the past 10 years.   

Results: Six jurisdictions passed and implemented paid sick leave laws (San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; Connecticut; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; and New York, NY). All laws require employers to offer paid sick leave to employees so they can care for themselves or ill family members. Enforcement of the laws is primarily located in Departments of Labor and related offices, with one exception – Seattle, WA, where enforcement falls in the Office of Civil Rights. Penalties for violations varied, with some jurisdictions only allowing complaints to be filed and others requiring back pay and administrative fines ranging from $100 to $10,000. Three jurisdictions unsuccessfully attempted to pass a similar law (Milwaukee, WI; Florida; and California).

Conclusion: Studying mandatory paid sick leave laws provides key insights for policymakers and advocates to design laws that can streamline implementation, include appropriate rewards for compliance, and have the greatest effect on improved health.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain to peers how mandatory paid sick leave laws have the ability to improve public health by allowing employees to take time off to care for themselves and their family members when ill. Describe which cities and states have passed or unsuccessfully tried to pass mandatory paid sick leave laws in the United States. Analyze how enforcement mechanisms and penalties for mandatory paid sick leave laws differ by jurisdiction. Use information to develop a mandatory paid sick leave law in their communities.

Keyword(s): Health Law, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigator on our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded research study, which examines the effect of mandatory paid sick leave laws on infectious disease rates. In addition, I have ten years of experience as a public health practitioner and researcher.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.