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Proposed Federal Law Would Mandate Paid Vacation and Sick Leave For Employees

A recently proposed federal law would require employers to provide paid vacation to employees.  H.R. 2564 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida on May 21, 2009.  The proposed law would amend the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers with at least 100 employees to provide at least one week of paid vacation each year to each employee.  This week of paid vacation would be required in addition to any sick leave or other leave required by law.  

Employees would be eligible for paid vacation under the new law after they worked for their employer for one year and for at least 1,250 hours during the year.  Beginning three years after the new law is enacted, its requirements would expand to cover employers with at least 50 employees and to require that companies with 100 or more employees provide two weeks of paid vacation to each eligible employee.  

We previously informed you about a similar law proposed in the North Carolina legislature that would require employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave each year to each employee.  The Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act would require employers with more than 10 employees to provide each employee up to 56 hours of paid sick leave in each calendar year.  Employers with 10 or fewer employees would be required to provide up to 32 hours of paid sick leave to each employee each calendar year.   

A proposal similar to the North Carolina sick leave legislation was recently introduced at the federal level.  The Healthy Families Act of 2009 (H.R. 2460) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.  The proposed law would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide each employee up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each year.  Employees would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  Employees would also be allowed to roll over unused sick leave to the next calendar year, although employers would not be required to allow employees to accrue more than 56 total hours of unused, paid sick leave.  

Even if none of these proposed laws are enacted, they show that our legislators are focused on expanding employee rights and requiring more of employers.  We will keep you updated on the status of the proposed federal vacation law and both the proposed state and federal sick leave laws as they move through the legislative process.

© 2020 Poyner Spruill LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume , Number 224


About this Author

David L. Woodard, Employment Litigation Attorney, Poyner Spruill, Law firm

David practices in the area of employment litigation.  He regularly advises and defends clients in race, age, disability and sex discrimination and harassment cases; reviews handbooks and termination issues; and provides compliance advice on matters of employment law.

Representative Experience

McNeil v. Scotland County - Obtained summary judgment for employer where plaintiff alleged race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as violation of the Americans...

Kevin M. Ceglowski, Employment and Labor Lawyer, Poyner Spruill, Law Firm

Kevin represents employers in many areas of labor and employment law, including race, age, gender, religion, national original, and disability employment discrimination claims, wrongful discharge claims, and wage and hour claims. He defends clients before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, in state and federal courts, and in arbitrations. Kevin also provides guidance to management to ensure employment practices are in full compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.