Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When providing hand sanitizer isn't enough

Not surprisingly, a measure has been introduced, this time in the House of Representatives, that would require employers (with at least 15 employees) to provide 5 paid sick days when an employee shows symptoms of a contagious illness or has been in contact with someone who has a contagious illness.

This law, if passed as presently written, would sunset 2 years from the date of passage. Thus, it's not the permanent fixture of paid sick leave that has been trumpeted in the past by members of Congress. Interestingly, a violation of the law would be equivalent to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Thus, treble damages and attorneys' fees would be available.

With the focus on health care reform, it is very possible that this measure slips under the radar and passes without much fanfare. The sponsor has dubbed it the Emergency Influenza Containment Act, categorizing it as a way to control the H1N1 pandemic.

For anyone who enacted policies in response to the outbreak, you should closely monitor this Act so as not to find yourself painted into a corner if it passes.

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