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New Workplace Leave Laws Taking Effect Nationwide

Tomorrow, July 1st, is a significant day for millions of workers who will begin enjoying the protections of recently enacted workplace leave laws around the country.

Workers in Arizona, Chicago, Cook County (IL), Minneapolis, and Saint Paul (MN)* will all begin earning paid sick time, which they can use to care for themselves or a family member when ill. In addition, Los Angeles’ paid sick time law, which took effect last year for workers whose employers have more than 25 employees, will now apply citywide to employers of all sizes. In most of these locations, workers will also be able to earn paid “safe time”—time off to address non-medical needs related to domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking. For a comprehensive overview of how all of these laws will work and the protections they will provide to workers, see A Better Balance’s paid sick time chart.

In Georgia, the Georgia Family Care Act will also take effect on July 1st. The Family Care Act guarantees that workers whose employers provide paid sick time will be able to use that time to care for sick family members and not only themselves.

ABB worked extensively with local advocates to help research, draft, and pass these laws. For low-wage workers who currently do not have a single paid sick day, these laws will ensure they no longer have to worry that catching a cold or taking a sick child to the doctor could mean not making rent or even losing their job.

We are especially proud of the role that we played securing broad and inclusive definitions of “family member” under these laws. The laws in Arizona, Chicago, Cook County, Los Angeles, and Saint Paul use our model definition, which includes chosen family members and not only those related biologically, legally, or by marriage. In Minneapolis, in addition to covering a number of specific family relationships, the law defines “family member” to include all household members. In Georgia, the Family Care Act defines family to include tax dependents, in addition to specific family relationships.

July 1st is also the anniversary of a number of other paid sick and safe time laws taking effect. For example, the Massachusetts and California laws will both be celebrating their two-year anniversaries. We will continue to push for legal change to ensure that all workers, no matter what city or state they live in, can take time off to care for themselves and their loved ones without compromising their economic security.

 

*In Saint Paul, workers who work for employers with fewer than 24 employees will begin earning paid sick and safe time on January 1, 2018.