VA's Special Legislative Session: Important Bills on Paid Leave and Small Biz Liability

Date: August 19, 2020


Lawmakers return to address pandemic impact on state budget and ecomony

The General Assembly opened their Special Session on Tuesday, August 18th to address the state budget; issues related to COVID-19 and criminal justice reform. 

In anticipation of the upcoming Special Session, NFIB Virginia State Director Nicole Riley penned a column in the Richmond Times Dispatch asking legislators to consider the significant impact of the coronavirus on small businesses when considering new policies.  Asking lawmakers to approach their decisions by taking an oath many doctors take: “First, do no harm.”  You can read the full column HERE.

Below are the priorities NFIB Virginia will be pursing during the Special Session:

Opposing Paid Sick Leave Mandate
NFIB Virginia will be opposing at least two bills requiring employers to provide a) 14 days of paid sick leave for full time and part-time employees that can be used during a pandemic and b) an additional of 5 days of paid sick leave for full time employees annually. 

Full-time employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours in a year, unless the employer selects a higher limit. Employees would also be able to carry over any unused sick days to the following year to count towards their 40 hours for that year. Additional burdens on employers include a three-year recording keeping requirement.



Supporting Protections from COVID-19 related Lawsuits

Knowing civil liability from COVID-19 exposure is a real threat to nearly every small  business owner in Virginia NFIB Virginia will be supporting legislation to provide employers with limited civil liability protections related to COVID-19. 

SB 5067 and HB 5074 offer immunity from liability arising from COVID-19 exposure to a broad spectrum of entities, including individuals, non-profit corporations, educational institutions, corporations, and state and local government. 

The immunity is only available if the entity “complied with applicable and the most recent federal, state, and local laws, policies, procedures, and guidance regarding COVID-19” including the recent Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board’s Emergency regulations which became effective July 27, 2020

The immunity is for a limited time and is only available for “claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or revocation of all states of emergency declared by the Governor related to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

This will be a welcome relief to small businesses who are trying to recover economically while following all federal and state safety guidelines in good faith.

This Special Session will be very different from those in the past, with the majority of the meetings taking place virtually over several weeks.  It will be more important than ever for small business to voice their opinions to their state legislators.  So, click on the blue link above to send a letter to your lawmaker opposing the proposal for mandated sick leave. 

And, expect an email from NFIB soon asking you to reach out to your lawmaker requesting they support small business liability protection. 

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