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Paid Leave Laws Sweep the Country

Date: May 15, 2014

States and cities are considering laws that would burden small business owners.

Paid leave laws are top of mind for many small business owners across the country, as many states and municipalities are adding or considering them.

California, New Jersey and Rhode Island are just a few states now mandating paid family leave, while paid sick time initiatives have passed in Connecticut and major cities such as New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Smaller cities, including Newark, N.J., are also hopping on the bandwagon.

NFIB is opposing pending bills in states and Congress, arguing that the added benefits can be hard for small businesses to afford. “There is a breaking point,” says Jan Meekcoms, NFIB’s Oregon state director. 

On Jan. 1, Portland, Ore., began requiring businesses with six or more employees to provide paid sick time to employees. The mandate requires companies to provide one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked up to a 40-hour-per-year maximum.

NFIB member Steve Ferree, owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing in Gladstone, Ore., estimates the new requirement will cost him about $920 per person for each of the four to five new hires he has been adding per year, based on a pay rate of $23 per hour. What’s more, under the new rule, employees qualify for paid sick time after 90 days of employment. “If someone comes in, works three months and uses a week’s worth of sick pay, that’s where the additional costs come in,” Ferree says.

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