HB 600-FN - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 600-FN
This bill requires employers to provide paid sick leave for employees.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen
AN ACT relative to paid sick leave for employees.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Findings. The general court finds that all workers in New Hampshire can address their own health and safety needs and the health and safety needs of their families by requiring employers to provide a minimum level of paid sick and safe days including time for family care. The general court further finds that enabling workers to seek medical care for themselves and their family members diminishes public and private health care costs in New Hampshire. The general court seeks to safeguard the public welfare, health, safety, and prosperity of New Hampshire.
2 New Chapter; Paid Sick Leave for Employees. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 275-F the following new chapter
PAID SICK LEAVE FOR EMPLOYEES
275-G:1 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department of labor.
II. “Department” means the department of labor.
III. “Employee” means “employee” as defined in RSA 279:1, X and includes recipients of public benefits who are engaged in work activity as a condition of receiving public assistance.
IV. “Employer” means “employer” as defined in RSA 279:1, XI.
V. “Family member” means:
(a) A biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
(b) A biological, foster, stepparent, or adoptive parent, or legal guardian of an employee or an employee’s spouse or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child.
(c) A person to whom the employee is legally married under the laws of New Hampshire or with whom the employee has entered into a civil union under RSA 457-A.
(d) A grandchild.
VI. “Health care professional” means any person licensed under federal or state law to provide medical or emergency services, including doctors, nurses, and emergency room personnel.
VII. “Paid sick leave” means time that is compensated at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits, including health care benefits, as the employee normally earns during hours worked and is provided by an employer to an employee for the purposes described in RSA 275-G:3.
VIII. “Retaliatory personnel action” means the discharge, suspension, or demotion by an employer of an employee or any other adverse action taken by an employer against an employee and also includes any sanctions against a recipient of public benefits.
IX. “Small business” means any private individual, firm, partnership, institution, corporation, or association for which fewer than 15 persons work for compensation during a given week. In determining the number of persons performing work for compensation during a given week, all persons performing work for compensation on a full-time or part-time basis shall be counted.
275-G:2 Accrual of Paid Sick Leave.
I. All full or part-time employees who work in New Hampshire for more than 6 consecutive months with the same employer in a year shall receive paid sick leave as provided in this chapter.
II. Employees shall accrue one hour for every 30 hours of work not to exceed 40 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.
III. Employees may use paid sick leave after 6 months of continuous employment or the equivalent in the case of part-time employees, after the employee’s date of hire.
IV. Employers may allow employees to carry over paid sick leave to the following calendar year.
V. Any employer with a paid leave policy who makes available an amount of paid leave sufficient to meet the requirements of this chapter and which may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as paid sick leave under this chapter shall not be required to provide additional paid sick leave.
VI. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as requiring financial or other reimbursement to an employee from an employer upon the employee’s termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment for accrued paid sick leave that has not been used.
VII. Upon separation from employment, if the employee is rehired within 12 months of separation by the same employer, previously accrued paid sick leave that had not been used may be reinstated at the discretion of employer.
275-G:3 Use of Paid Sick Leave.
I. Paid sick leave shall be provided to an employee by an employer for:
(a) An employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, an employee’s need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.
(b) Care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, care of a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.
II. Employers may adopt reasonable procedures requiring employees to notify them of need to use sick leave prior to scheduled work hours.
III. An employer may establish in a written policy the minimum amount of sick leave increments that an employee may use.
IV.(a) For sick leave of more than 3 consecutive days, an employer may require reasonable documentation that the sick leave is covered by paragraph I, including documentation signed by a health care professional indicating that sick time is necessary.
(b) An employer may not require that the documentation explain the nature of the illness.
V. An employer shall not require, as a condition of providing paid sick leave under this chapter, that the employee search for or find a replacement worker to cover the hours during which the employee is on paid sick leave.
275-G:4 Exercise of Rights Protected.
I. It shall be unlawful for an employer or any other person to interfere with, restrain, deny the exercise of, or deny the attempt to exercise, any right protected under this chapter.
II. An employer shall not take retaliatory personnel action or discriminate against an employee because the employee has exercised rights protected under this chapter.
III. It shall be unlawful for an employer to count paid sick leave taken under this chapter as an absence that may lead to or result in discipline, discharge, demotion, suspension, or any other adverse action. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee who uses sick leave for purposes other than those defined in this chapter.
275-G:5 Notice and Posting.
I. Employers shall give notice that employees are entitled to paid sick leave, the amount of paid sick leave, and the terms of its use guaranteed under this chapter, that retaliation against employees who request or use paid sick leave is prohibited, and that each employee has the right to file a complaint or bring a civil action if sick leave as required by this section is denied by the employer or the employee is retaliated against for requesting or taking paid sick leave.
II. The department shall create and make available to employers posters that contain the information required under paragraph I.
III. An employer who willfully violates the notice and posting requirements of this section shall be subject to a civil fine in an amount not to exceed $100 for each separate offense.
275-G:6 Employer Records. Employers shall retain records that document the hours worked by employees and paid sick leave taken by employees, for a period of 4 years, and shall allow the department access to such records, with appropriate notice and at a mutually agreeable time, to monitor compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
275:G:7 Exemption. Employers with policies that allow paid time off or flexible leave time to be used as sick leave are exempt from the requirements of this chapter.
I. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the forms, procedures, implementation, and enforcement of this chapter.
II. The commissioner shall coordinate implementation and enforcement of this chapter.
I. Any employee who alleges a violation of rights under this chapter, and who has first made a reasonable effort to maintain or restore such employee’s rights through any grievance procedure or similar process available at such employee’s place or employment, may obtain a hearing with the commissioner of labor or a designee appointed by the commissioner. Following such hearing, the commissioner or his or her designee shall render a judgment on such matter, and shall order, as the commissioner or his or her designee considers appropriate, reinstatement of the employee, the payment of back pay, fringe benefits and seniority rights, any appropriate injunctive relief, or any combination of these remedies.
II. Decisions rendered by the commissioner under paragraph I may be appealed pursuant to RSA 541.
III. The department shall encourage reporting pursuant to this section by protecting the confidentiality of, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable laws, the name and other identifying information of the employee or person reporting the violation. However, with the authorization of such person, the department may disclose his or her name and identifying information as necessary to enforce this section or for other appropriate purposes.
275-G:10 Statutory Minimum for Sick Leave Policies.
I. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to discourage or prohibit an employer from the adoption or retention of a paid sick leave policy which exceeds the requirements of this chapter.
II. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as altering or diminishing the obligation of an employer to comply, with any contract, collective bargaining agreement, employment benefit plan, or other agreement providing more generous paid sick leave to an employee than required in this chapter.
III. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as diminishing the rights of public employees regarding paid sick leave or use of sick leave as provided in any laws of the state of New Hampshire.
275-G:11 Other Legal Requirements. This chapter provides minimum requirements pertaining to paid sick leave and shall not be construed to preempt, limit, or otherwise affect the applicability of any other law, regulation, requirement, policy, standard, or collective bargaining agreement that provides for greater accrual or use by employees of sick leave, whether paid or unpaid, or that extends other protections to employees.
275-G:12 Severability. If any provision of this chapter or application thereof to any person or circumstance is judged invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared severable.
3 Contingency; Implementation. RSA 275-G as inserted by this act shall take effect on the date that the commissioner of the department of labor determines that a version of the Healthy Families Act or similar legislation has been enacted by the United States Congress and certifies such enactment to the secretary of state and the director of the office of legislative services.
4 Effective Date.
I. Sections 1 and 2 of this act shall take effect as provided in section 3 of this act.
II. The remainder of this act shall take effect upon its passage.
HB 600-FN FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT relative to paid sick leave for employees.
The Department of Administrative Services, Department of Labor, New Hampshire Municipal Association, and New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill, as introduced, will increase state expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2016 and each year thereafter, and have an indeterminable impact on county and local expenditures in FY 2016 and each year thereafter. There will be no impact on state, county, and local revenue.
The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is awaiting information from the Judicial Branch relative to the potential fiscal impact of this bill. The Branch was contacted on 01/07/15 to provide the information.
The Department of Administrative Services states this bill requires employers to provide employees, including part-time employees, with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The Department states the State of New Hampshire already provides full-time employees with leave accruals greater than those identified in the bill, so there will be no additional cost related to full-time employees. The State does not, however, currently provide paid sick leave to part-time employees. The Department estimates this provision will increase state expenditures by $8,914,788 per year, calculated as follows:
6,413 classified part-time employees
$14.20 average hourly rate for classified part-time employees
6,413 employees * $14.20 hourly rate * 40 hours of leave = $3,642,584
3,635 non-classified part-time employees
$36.26 average hourly rate for non-classified part-time employees
3,365 employees * $36.26 * 40 hours of leave = $5,272,204
In addition to the costs identified above, the Department states there may be indeterminable costs associated with the proposed language in RSA 275-G:2, VII, which indicates that upon separation from employment, if an employee is rehired within 12 months of separation by the same employer, previously accrued sick leave that had not been used may be reinstated at the discretion of the employer. The Department notes that the State of New Hampshire does not currently reinstate unused sick leave for current full-time employees, and if it chose to do so, an additional cost would be generated. In addition, the State provides health coverage for employees that are absent on paid sick time; this additional leave would extend the state’s obligation to offer paid coverage beyond what is currently provided.
The Department of Labor states the bill will have an indeterminable impact on expenditures. The Department states that although it already has a process in place for hearing labor disputes, the number of hearings may increase as a result of the bill.
The New Hampshire Municipal Association states it is unable to determine the number of municipalities, if any, currently providing less paid sick leave than that contemplated by the bill. As such, the Association is unable to determine the impact on municipal expenditures.
The New Hampshire Association of Counties states that counties do currently provide paid sick leave for employees. The Association further states the bill may extend such coverage to a wider population, but the impact on county expenditures is indeterminable.