The Society for Human Resource Management is backing a bill in Congress intended to make more manageable the confusing array of state and local medical leave laws that are being imposed on employers.
Testifying on behalf of SHRM, Angie Schaefer, vice president of human resources at Safety National, told a recent congressional committee hearing that her experience in her company is a perfect example of the costs imposed.
“This fragmented set of rules presents a compliance effort that is costly to my business. For example, we had to implement an entirely new payroll system to account for varying accrual and roll-over rules,” she pointed out.
“This effort has been particularly time consuming and difficult as these laws require our outside legal counsel to interpret the various leave laws to ensure that our policies are in compliance.”
She said legislation developed with SHRM’s guidance called the Workplace in the 21st Century Act, provides a solution that expands paid leave and workflex options regarding when, where and how work is done, while accounting for differences in work environments, employer size and industry.
If the bill is enacted, employers would have the option of voluntarily offering a plan that provides employees with a federal standard of paid leave and options for flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting or compressed work schedules.
Both full-time and part-time employees who opt into this plan would receive guaranteed paid leave that exceeds all state and nearly all local mandates.
Strong anti-retaliation protections are provided for employees, Schaefer noted. “Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against any employee based on the employee’s request for leave or any other benefits provided in plan.”