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Sick leave eligibility increase

Published (5/16/2008)
By Mike Cook
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Current law allows an employee to use employer-provided sick leave when they are sick or when they need to care for a minor child who is ill.

It could be expanded to include an adult son or daughter, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent or stepparent who is ill or injured.

Sponsored by Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes (DFL-Winona), HF219/SF1128* would apply to employers with 21 or more employees at a single site that already have a sick leave policy. To be eligible, an employee must be employed at least half-time, or the equivalent, by the employer for 12 consecutive months.

Passed by the Senate 48-12 May 12, it was passed by the House 88-45 later that day. It now awaits action by the governor.

Employers could continue to provide greater sick leave benefits, and the bill doesn’t alter an existing policy or labor agreement that allows the use of sick leave for the care of a child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent or stepparent.

Supporters say this will help families that, for example, have an adult child with a disability and it will help with an aging population, especially as baby boomers reach retirement. They also believe it is important that employees can use their sick leave how they best see fit.

Opponents called this an unfunded mandate on some businesses.

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