Family Friendly Workplace Laws Taking Effect in Early 2015

Memo to Interested Media

TO: Interested Media  |  FROM: Sadie Kliner, Senior Communications Manager, 202-986-2600

RE: Family Friendly Workplace Laws Taking Effect in Early 2015

Working families from coast to coast celebrated passage of several state and local family friendly workplace laws in 2014, including laws guaranteeing paid sick days, paid family leave, and protections for pregnant workers. Many of these laws will take effect this Thursday, January 1, and in the weeks that follow. As National Partnership President Debra L. Ness said, coupled with the minimum wage increases taking effect in 20 states and the District of Columbia, “these victories will bring hard-won and badly needed relief to working families, create economic security and opportunity, and improve public health. However, as we begin 2015, millions of workers are still without the right to earn paid sick days, guarantees of any wage replacement when they need to take family or medical leave, and protections against pay and pregnancy discrimination. We all suffer as a result. Congress needs to step up and pass laws that will make all our country’s workplaces more fair and family friendly and strengthen the economy.”

Family friendly workplace laws passed in 2014 will take effect in early 2015 in:

  • California. A paid sick days law, which is the second statewide law of its kind, will begin to take effect on January 1, 2015. This law will enable workers to earn paid sick days beginning July 1, 2015. A citywide paid sick days law will also take effect in Oakland on March 2, 2015; it was approved by 82 percent of voters on November 4, 2014, and guarantees workers the right to earn more paid sick days than the new state law does. Details here.
  • District of Columbia. A law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the District reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them is expected to take effect on January 15, 2015, when a 30-day congressional approval period concludes. Details here.
  • Illinois. A law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them will take effect on January 1, 2015. Details here.
  • Massachusetts. On November 4, 2014, nearly 60 percent of voters approved a statewide paid sick days law. The measure will be the nation’s third statewide law of its kind when it takes effect on July 1, 2015. Details here.
  • Two cities in Minnesota. The cities of Brooklyn Park and Saint Paul adopted paid parental leave policies for municipal employees in 2014. Both measures take effect on January 1, 2015.
  • Six cities in New Jersey. A citywide paid sick days law in Passaic will take effect on December 31, 2014. Similar paid sick days laws will take effect in East Orange on January 6, in Irvington and Paterson on January 7, and in Montclair and Trenton on March 4, 2015. Details here. The Montclair and Trenton laws were adopted by ballot measure on November 4, 2014, with 75 and 86 percent of the vote, respectively.
  • St. Petersburg, Fla. A measure that will guarantee paid parental leave for municipal employees will take effect on January 1, 2015.

Other 2014 victories for working families were secured in:

  • Delaware. On September 9, 2014, a law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them took effect. Details here.
  • District of Columbia. On October 1, 2014, an expansion of the District’s paid sick days law took effect. The law, which has been in place since 2008, now covers tipped restaurant and bar workers. Details here. On the same day, a paid family leave program for workers employed by the District took effect. Details here.
  • Eugene, Ore. On July 28, 2014, the City Council approved a paid sick days law for the city – the state’s second – and it began to take effect in August with the development of regulations. Workers will be able to earn paid sick days starting July 1, 2015. Details here.
  • Minnesota. On May 12, 2014, a provision guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them took effect. Details here. Provisions expanding the state’s laws related to unpaid family and medical leave and employer-provided paid sick days took effect on July 1, 2014. Details here.
  • Two cities in New Jersey. A citywide paid sick days law – the state’s first – took effect in Jersey City on January 24, 2014. And a similar law took effect in Newark on June 21, 2014. Details here.
  • New York City, N.Y. On April 1, 2014, the city’s paid sick days law was expanded to require employers with five or more employees – instead of 15 or more – to provide paid sick time, and to broaden the definition of “family member” to include siblings, grandchildren and grandparents. Details here.
  • Philadelphia, Pa. On January 20, 2014, a law guaranteeing pregnant workers reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them took effect. Details here.
  • Rhode Island. The nation’s third paid family leave insurance program took effect on January 1, 2014. Details here. And laws guaranteeing pregnant workers reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them were passed and immediately took effect in Central Falls on April 14, 2014, and in Providence on May 15, 2014. Details here.
  • San Diego, Calif. On August 18, 2014, the City Council voted to override a mayoral veto of a citywide paid sick days law, but implementation of the measure is on hold until June 2016. Details here.
  • West Virginia. On June 4, 2014, a law guaranteeing pregnant workers in the state reasonable on-the-job accommodations when they need them took effect. Details here.

When all of these laws are implemented, the country will have three statewide and 16 municipal paid sick days laws, three states that guarantee paid family leave, and 12 states and five cities with their own pregnancy accommodation laws. Despite these advances, most workers in the country are not guaranteed these basic workplace protections. Nearly four in 10 private sector workers can’t earn paid sick days. Just 12 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have paid personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability insurance program. And many pregnant women are fired or forced off their jobs when they need minor accommodations to continue working.

“State and local progress has a tremendously positive impact, but a patchwork of laws is not enough,” Ness said. “That’s why efforts to pass family friendly workplace laws at all levels continue. As new and returning members of Congress prepare for 2015, they should recognize the demand for these policies and prioritize the passage of federal paid sick days legislation like the Healthy Families Act, a national paid family and medical leave insurance program like the one the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would create, and clear federal level protections for pregnant workers like those included in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. America’s residents, businesses and economy will be better off when they do.”

To talk to one of our policy experts, please contact me at 202-986-2600 or skliner@nationalpartnership.org. For additional information, explore the National Partnership’s family friendly workplace policy database at www.NationalPartnership.org/WFDB and our third edition of Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents.

About the National Partnership

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

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