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No sick leave eligibility increase (vetoed)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Mike Cook
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Gov. Tim Pawlenty refused to expand current law that allows an employee to use employer-provided sick leave when they are sick or when they need to care for an ill minor child.

He vetoed a bill that would have expanded the definition 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), the bill would have applied to employers with 21 or more employees at a single site that already have a sick leave policy.

Supporters said this would have helped families that, for example, have an adult child with a disability and it would have helped with an aging population. They also said employees should be able to use their sick leave how they best see fit.

“For public sector employers, sick leave and its usage should be left to the give-and-take of collective bargaining, not mandated by the state. Local governments have opposed this bill because it is an unfunded mandate that expands sick leave benefits outside of the collective bargaining process,” Pawlenty wrote in his veto. “The bill’s application to the state would trigger additional costs at a time when our budget is already strained.”

Employers could have continued to provide greater sick leave benefits, and the bill would not have altered 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.


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