Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
October 19, 2018

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 recently-formed coalition – Employers for Flexibility (E4F) – to address this issue.  The goal of this new 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.

On November 2nd, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA-45) was joined by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) in introducing the NAW-supported Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219). 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.

In July, the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on H.R. 4219.  Members of the committee heard from many small business owners who support this innovative, national approach to delivering more flexibility and paid leave for employees and more certainty for employers.