Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
July 6, 2020

In recent years, more than one-half dozen states and nearly three dozen local jurisdictions have enacted paid sick leave laws, and a handful of additional states have paid leave insurance laws on their books.  Experts expect the trend to continue. This will create an ever-mounting burden for employers which now must comply with an already complex patchwork of federal, state, county and municipal paid leave mandates with varying rules governing coverage, eligibility and benefits.

NAW is affiliated with a coalition – Employers for Flexibility (E4F) – to address this issue.  The goal of this coalition is the enactment of legislation that would establish a voluntary yet credible and comprehensive Federal paid leave and workplace flexibility policy which, if adopted by an employer, would preempt the myriad state and local paid leave mandates.

Last Congress, NAW supported the Workflex in the 21st Century Act. If enacted, employers who voluntarily choose to provide their employees with a certain minimum number of days of paid time off and options for flexible work arrangements through an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-authorized Qualified Flexible Work Arrangement Plan (“QFWA”) would be exempt from the patchwork of local and state mandated paid leave laws. To qualify as an ERISA plan and thus preempt all state and local paid leave laws, the employer’s QFWA must include both a paid leave and a flexible work arrangement component.

Alternatively, employers may choose to remain subject to state and local paid leave laws.

Employers participating in a voluntary Federal paid leave program would face a substantially-reduced regulatory burden imposed by fragmented state and local paid leave laws; employees would have a guaranteed level of paid leave and increased opportunities to take advantage of workflex options.

The Workflex in the 21st Century Act, or similar legislation, has not been enacted in the 116th Congress.

In addition to the Workflex in the 21st Century Act, Senators Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney, along with Representatives Ann Wagner and Dan Crenshaw, introduced the New Parents Act of 2019.  This bill creates a voluntary option for paid parental leave by allowing parents to use a portion of their Social Security after the birth or adoption of a child.  More importantly, this bill does not raise taxes on a single American nor does it place a single mandate on any business or employer.

NAW has worked with the U.S. Department of Labor and White House Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump to discuss Paid Family Leave regulations and the above described legislation.