Access to Paid Leave

COVID-19 has created a window of opportunity for advancing various kinds of paid leave.

With benefits to both businesses and families, it is clear that in the ongoing economic recovery and global health situation, providing paid leave is a way forward.

Across the board, paid leave policies have found positive benefits; however, without federal support, the burden falls to local governments.

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Taking the High Road in Cities

A Roadmap for Resilience and Recovery

Never let a good crisis go to waste. As city leaders have faced some of the greatest challenges brought on by COVID-19, they now face some of the greatest opportunity. This series will guide mayors and their trusted advisors in solving both the immediate crisis as well as long-standing challenges.

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The Case for Paid Leave

As of March 2020, 25% of private sector workers in the US had no access to paid sick leave; this was higher for part-time and low-income workers, who may not have access to even unpaid or job secure leave.
Paid leave offers a variety of benefits, including increased productivity, and positive effects on child and adult health, employment, and lifetime income.
Paid leave has consistently shown to be good for business. 3 years after passing the first local paid sick leave ordinance in the US, San Francisco had a job growth rate 5x higher than neighboring counties.

With benefits to both businesses and families, it is clear that in the ongoing economic recovery and global health situation, providing paid leave is a way forward.

Short-term Options

Expand coverage and purpose of existing paid leave laws, such as expanding paid leave coverage to gig economy workers and including bereavement as an acceptable purpose of paid leave.
Develop and disseminate clarifying guidance, such as an FAQ document and required workplace notices in different languages on worker’s paid leave rights in the city.
Take advantage of emergency powers that provide authority to pass sick leave ordinance, as seen in Goshen, Indiana.

Long-term Options

Expanding access to forms of paid leave outside of paid sick leave, including family and medical leave, such as seen in Washington D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act.
Provide individuals eligible for FMLA leave with paid family and medical leave, as seen in Connecticut in 2019.
Raise local labor standards through executive orders requiring all contractors and subcontractors who work with the city to provide paid leave and fair wage benefits.

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