Georgia Lawmakers Looks at a Mandatory Sick Leave Law

Georgia Senate Passes Sick Leave Bill SB 201

Back in 2006, Georgia was the first state to pass a preemptive sick leave law. The law halted local cities and county governments from creating a local mandatory sick leave law. Since Georgia’s example, 19 other states have passed preemptive sick leave or minimum wage laws. However, as the movement for paid sick leave has gained momentum across the country, many of those states have since passed statewide sick leave laws. The most recent of those was Arizona. In 2016, the Georgia Senate passed bill SB 824, which would require businesses to offer paid sick leave.

The new bill would require employers with 25 or more employees to provide up to 56  hours of sick leave a year to their employees. Employees would earn 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The bill excludes start up companies and small businesses. The bill would also exclude part time employees and would only apply to employees who work at least 30 hours a week or more.

The bill is currently slated for review in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, another bill, SB 201 passed the Georgia house on March 22, 2017. That bill requires employers who do offer paid sick leave to allow employees to use that time to care for immediate family members. Under SB 201, employees can take sick leave for any person listed as a dependant on their tax return. SB 201 doesn’t require mandatory sick leave to employers who don’t offer sick leave, but does provide certain allowances for employees who are already granted sick leave from their employers.

With the passing of SB 201, employers should review their sick leave policies to ensure compliance with the new bill.

If SB 824 passes, then Georgia employers would have to take another look at their current employee policies and make sure that they have the policies and the technology in place to track and provide paid sick leave to their employees. SB 824 would require more in depth timekeeping and employee records to be tracked and retained for several years. Additionally, employers who fail to keep adequate timekeeping records would be found in violation of the law.

Update: SB 824 has died on the floor. SB 201 has passed and been signed into law by the Governor and is now Georgia Law.

Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated on May 15, 2017

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