State Lawmakers to Take Another Crack at Paid Sick Days Proposal

Aug 18, 2020

Earlier this year, lawmakers considered and rejected a proposal to require employers offer paid sick days. Lawmakers will be considering it again during a special session this week.

The effort to require all employers to offer paid sick days fell apart right at the end of the General Assembly session earlier this year. Senate Democrats questioned the cost to the state of paying for paid sick days for all state employees, even part-time workers.

Now Arlington Senator Barbara Favola is back at it with another try. This time her bill requires paid sick days for all full-time employees. 

“How we get there will be the discussion," she explains. "I do not believe there’ll be a discussion on why this is needed. It’s going to be how we get there and where the burden might fall.”

If the burden falls on small businesses, former Republican Delegate David Ramadan suggests that might be a problem.

Credit NPR

“If the government wants to pay for that time off, then the government should pay for it, not mandate it on the individuals," Ramadan says. "If the individuals, meaning the small and medium size businesses, want to do that they can do it without a government mandate.”

Advocates say they think this version will have an easier time in the Senate because the new version has no additional burden on the state budget. It simply requires the private sector to offer the same paid sick days the state already offers its employees.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.