A bill that mandates employers with 100 or more employees provide a minimum amount of paid sick and safe leave (a new category added) to employees to be used to care for themselves or a family member who is ill or a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking is still alive. It imposes additional requirements on businesses, including but not limited to:
* The provision of paid sick and safe leave to all employees who work more than 680 hours in a year. That's 17 40-hour weeks out of 52 weeks a year.
* All employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of leave in a calendar year, unless the employer's limit is higher.
* Leave accrues at employment commencement, not after a probationary period.
* Employees shall be entitled to use leave beginning 90 days from being hired.
* Accrued leave may be used in less than hourly increments or the smallest increment that the employer's payroll system uses. Think about the payroll and abuse challenges than can present.
* For leave more than three consecutive days, an employer may require reasonable documentation, but is responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses the employee incurs in obtaining the documentation, such as the costs associated with getting a doctor's note.
The bill rationale does not include how many businesses it will negatively impact, nor the estimated cost increase in terms of leave, payroll, oversight and other costs, such as having to pay for overtime for other workers or temp hires to get work required done. It also does not allow employers to verify whether the employee is taking leave for the appropriate reasons during the first three days of absence.
While businesses with less than 100 employees are now exempt (Can you believe they too were included at first?), we, along with other chambers across the state, continue to oppose this bill. Most employers provide generous paid leave and this bill is unnecessary. We should be supporting all businesses in creating jobs, not tying their hands behind their backs with higher costs and mandates.
The House, which first passed the bill out, informed the Senate that it disagrees with the Senate amendments. This gives us more time to ask state lawmakers to oppose HB341.
You can help by:
* Thanking the following senators who voted against the bill: Josh Green, Michelle Kidani, Donna Mercado Kim, Ronald Kouchi, Pohai Ryan and Sam Slom.
* Asking the following senators who voted "aye with reservations" to hear constituents' concerns and oppose HB341 going forward: Maui Sens. Roz Baker and J. Kalani English, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donovan Dela Cruz, Mike Gabbard, David Ige, Les Ihara, Gil Kahele, Clarence Nishihara, Malama Solomon, Jill Tokuda and Glenn Wakai.
* Contacting these senators who voted for the bill to explain why it is bad for business and ask that they change their vote: Will Espero, Carol Fukunaga, Brickwood Galuteria, Clayton Hee and Maile Shimabukuro.
* And, contacting every member of the House to oppose this bill.
Let our elected officials hear your voice and show them you are paying attention to how they are voting on issues that affect the health of our economy and businesses.
* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.