National Partnership for Women & Families

Key Measures to Support Women and Families Taking Effect in 2018

Memo to Interested Media
WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 20, 2017 —

TO: Interested Media | FROM: Sadie Kliner, Deputy Communications Director, 202-986-2600

While 2017 saw devastating attacks on women’s health and reproductive rights, workers’ rights, immigrant communities and much more, advocates for women and workers were nonetheless able to make substantial progress at the state and local levels on measures that enhance working families’ economic security. Many of these measures will take effect in 2018. These state and local victories include new laws that increase working people’s access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, promote fair pay and provide protections for pregnant workers. The new policies also promote gender equality in the workforce and in our country, strengthen families’ economic security and boost business and economic growth. Highlights from 2017 include a new statewide paid sick days law in Rhode Island – bringing the national total to eight statewide laws, all of which will be in effect in 2018 – and strong new paid family and medical leave programs in Washington state and Washington, D.C.

As National Partnership President Debra L. Ness said, “Too many lawmakers at the national level want to advance regressive, vindictive proposals that threaten the rights and economic security of people across the country. Nonetheless, advocates, lawmakers, business leaders and working people at the local and state levels continued to win strong women- and worker-friendly policies this year. Across political parties and ideologies, voters and lawmakers recognize the need for policies that support women and families, reduce inequalities, and build stronger communities, businesses and economies. And whether at the ballot box or in state legislatures, at city council meetings or in boardrooms, people took action this year. Still, access to these policies largely depends on where someone lives, their income or employer, and that’s unacceptable. And it is deeply disturbing that the Trump administration and some members of Congress are hell-bent on rolling back many of our hard-fought gains. So while we celebrate real progress this year, we are also redoubling our commitment to protecting existing laws and distinguishing strong, tested policies from measures that only provide lip service and actually would do more harm than good.”

At the state and local levels, family friendly workplace laws will take effect in 2018 in:

  • California – statewide and San Francisco. On Jan. 1, 2018, an expansion of the state’s paid family leave law – which was the country’s first statewide paid family leave law – will take effect (details here). The paid leave expansion, which was enacted in 2016, increases the wage replacement rate for workers who take leave and eliminates the seven-day waiting period for benefits. On July 1, 2018, an expansion of the state’s paid sick days law – the second statewide law of its kind – will take effect (details here). The paid sick days expansion, which also was enacted in 2016, extends the law’s coverage to in-home supportive service workers who had previously been excluded from the law. In addition, on Jan. 1, 2018, a citywide law supplementing the benefits workers receive under the state’s paid family leave law will take effect for small employers in San Francisco (details here). The law, which was enacted in 2016, took effect for larger employers in January and July of 2017.
  • Massachusetts. On April 1, 2018, a law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them will take effect; the law was enacted on July 27, 2017 (details here).
  • St. Paul, Minn. On Jan. 1, 2018, a paid sick days law will take effect for small employers (details here). The law, which was enacted in 2016, took effect for larger employers on July 1, 2017.
  • New York. On Jan. 1, 2018, a paid family leave law – the country’s fourth statewide law of its kind – will take effect (details here). The law was enacted in 2016.
  • Rhode Island. On Jan. 1, 2018, a paid sick days law – the eighth statewide law of its kind – will take effect (details here). The law was enacted on Sept. 28, 2017.
  • Vermont. On Jan. 1, 2018, a paid sick days law – the fifth statewide law of its kind – will take effect for small employers (details here). The law, which was enacted in 2016, took effect for larger employers on Jan. 1, 2017. Also on Jan. 1, 2018, a law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them will take effect (details here); the law was enacted on May 4, 2017.
  • Washington. On Jan. 1, 2018, a paid sick days law – the seventh statewide law of its kind – will take effect (details here). Nearly six in 10 voters approved the law by ballot measure in 2016.

Lawmakers and advocates secured other state and local victories in 2017 in:

  • Arizona. On July 1, 2017, a paid sick days law – the sixth statewide law of its kind – took effect (details here). Nearly six in 10 voters approved the law by ballot measure in 2016.
  • California – statewide and three cities in the state. On Oct. 12, 2017, an expansion of the state’s paid family leave law was enacted (details here). The law, which will take effect in 2020, lowers the eligibility threshold for job-protected parental leave, enabling more workers to take leave without fear of losing their jobs. On Jan. 1, 2017, a citywide paid sick days law took effect in Santa Monica, as did a law expanding San Francisco’s paid sick days law (details here). On Jan. 1, 2017, and July 1, 2017, a citywide law supplementing the benefits workers receive under the state’s paid family leave law took effect for larger employers in San Francisco (details here) and, as noted above, the law will begin to cover smaller employers on Jan. 1, 2018. And on Oct. 1, 2017, a citywide paid sick days law took effect in Berkeley (details here).
  • District of Columbia. On Feb. 17, 2017, a paid family and medical leave law was enacted in the District of Columbia (details here). The law is scheduled to take effect in 2020.
  • Two jurisdictions in Florida. On Feb. 1, 2017, the city of Tampa enacted a policy guaranteeing paid parental leave to full-time municipal employees; the policy took effect on Feb. 12, 2017. On April 6, 2017, Palm Beach County enacted a policy guaranteeing paid parental leave for municipal employees; the effective date is unknown.
  • Georgia – statewide and one city in the state. On May 8, 2017, a statewide law requiring employers to allow employees to use accrued sick time to care for an immediate family member who is ill was enacted; the law took effect on July 1, 2017. On March 6, 2017, the city of Warner Robins enacted a policy guaranteeing paid parental leave to municipal employees; the effective date is unknown.
  • Two jurisdictions in Illinois. On July 1, 2017, paid sick days laws took effect in Chicago and Cook County (details here). Both laws were enacted in 2016.
  • Two cities in Minnesota. On July 1, 2017, citywide paid sick days laws took effect for employers of all sizes in Minneapolis and for larger employers in St. Paul. As noted above, St. Paul’s law will take effect for smaller employers in 2018. Details on both laws can be found here.
  • Nevada. A law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them was enacted on June 2, 2017, and took effect on Oct. 1, 2017 (details here).
  • Morristown, N.J. On Jan. 11, 2017, a citywide paid sick days law took effect in Morristown (details here); the law was enacted in 2016.
  • Three jurisdictions in North Carolina. On Jan. 1, 2017, a paid parental leave policy for municipal employees took effect in Wake County; the policy was enacted in 2016. On Jan. 5, 2017, the city of Cary enacted a policy guaranteeing paid parental leave to municipal employees; the effective date is unknown. Finally, on April 25, 2017, the city of Morrisville enacted a policy guaranteeing paid parental leave to municipal employees; the effective date is unknown.
  • Two jurisdictions in Ohio. On March 29, 2017, the city of Columbus enacted a policy guaranteeing paid family leave to municipal employees; the effective date is unknown. On April 11, 2017, Lucas County enacted a policy guaranteeing paid parental leave to municipal employees; the effective date is unknown.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah. On Jan. 1, 2017, a paid parental leave policy for municipal employees took effect; the policy was enacted in 2016.
  • Vermont. On Jan. 1, 2017, a paid sick days law – the fifth statewide law of its kind – took effect for larger employers. As noted above, the law will take effect for smaller employers in 2018. Details can be found here.
  • Washington – statewide and two jurisdictions in the state. On July 5, 2017, a paid family and medical leave law – the fifth statewide law of its kind – was enacted (details here). The law will take effect in phases in 2019 and 2020. A law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them was enacted on May 16, 2017, and took effect on July 23, 2017 (details here). On Jan. 1, 2017, a citywide paid sick days law took effect in Spokane (details here). Finally, on Feb. 27, 2017, the city of Shoreline enacted a policy guaranteeing paid family and medical leave for municipal employees; the effective date is unknown.

When all of these new state and local laws take effect, the country will have at least eight states, the District of Columbia and 32 other jurisdictions with paid sick days laws; five states and the District of Columbia with paid family leave laws and five states that provide paid personal medical leave through temporary disability insurance laws; at least 45 localities that guarantee city or county workers paid parental or family leave; and 22 states and five other jurisdictions with pregnancy accommodation laws. However, despite these very significant advances, most workers in the country are not guaranteed these workplace protections.

Nationally, 32 percent of private sector workers – more than 37 million people – cannot earn a single paid sick day. Just 15 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and only 41 percent have paid personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability insurance program. Workers who are paid lower wages are even less likely than others to have access to any type of leave.

“The momentum for family friendly workplace policies certainly continued this year, but we have a long way to go to ensure everyone has access to the protections they need, and real threats to our progress are looming,” Ness said. “Instead of strengthening support for families and building on recent advances, Congress is currently considering a deceptive plan that would undermine local paid sick days laws and lawmakers are on the verge of enacting a sham paid leave proposal that has little chance of increasing access to paid leave. We are urging lawmakers to instead prioritize common sense solutions like the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a national paid sick days standard; the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a true national paid leave program; the Paycheck Fairness Act and compensation data collection at the EEOC, which the administration has blocked; and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would strengthen protections against pay and pregnancy discrimination. These are the real policy solutions the country needs.”

To talk to one of our policy experts, contact Sadie Kliner at skliner@nationalpartnership.org (or 202-986-2600) or Lisa Lederer at llederer@nationalpartnership.org (or 202-421-5825).

Contact

Lisa Lederer (202) 986-2600 llederer@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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