Kennedy Introduces Paid-Leave Legislation

June 17, 2004 ( - U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D - Massachusetts) has introduced legislation to mandate employers offer workers paid time off.

>The Healthy Families Act ( S. 2520)  would mandate seven sick-leave days with pay for full-time employees and a pro rata number of days of sick leave for part-time workers.   This is in an effort to provide “employees time off to tend to their own health care needs” to ensure “that they will be healthier in the long run,” according to the bill.

>Under provisions of the bill, introduced on June 15, accrued sick leave could then be used by an employee for absences:

  • related to physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee;
  • resulting from obtaining professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventive medical care, for the employee
  • for the purpose of caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, or any other individual related by “blood or affinity.”

>The bill would apply to public and private employers with at least 15 employees.

Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire) is not convinced the legislation would do more help than harm to business.   “This type of mandate is precisely why we are losing jobs overseas,” Gregg said. “Companies are outsourcing because they are overtaxed, overregulated and overlitigated.”