A Look at the Ohio Healthy Families Act

According to SHRM, “The Ohio Healthy Families Act, which would mandate paid sick leave for most employees working in Ohio, will likely appear as a ballot initiative in November. If the act is approved, Ohio could be the only state to require paid sick leave.”

The Facts

If enacted, the Ohio Healthy Families Act would require employers with 25 or more employees to guarantee full-time employees at least seven days of paid sick leave each year (and part-time employees a pro-rated amount of leave) to care for themselves and their families’ medical needs. The sick days themselves would allow employees to use them on themselves or on a family member. Also, the employees must earn the sick days, removing the possibilities that a person would be able to jump from job to job taking these paid sick days. Read the full text of the proposed Ohio Health Families Act here…

Proponents of the Issue

The Ohio Healthy Families Act is strongly supported by the Service Employers International Union (SEIU) District 1199, a labor union which has targeted Ohio for its organizing efforts. The Union formed Ohians for Healthy Families, a statewide coalition of citizens and organizations, have created sickdaysohio.org in order to promote the the Ohio Healthy Families Act. Their goal is to make Ohio the “most family-friendly” state in the nation. The website presents quite a few statistics and also provides an informative PDF that provides objective facts and more technical analysis of the Act.

Opponents of the Issue

The Ohio Roundtable, a conservative Republican business group, has become a clear opponent of the Act, and has funded playsickohio.org, a website encouraging Ohio voters to “say no” to the Act on November 4th. The website provides editorial articles as well as the full-text PDF detailing the language of the Ohio Healthy Families Act.

Governor Ted Strickland has also emerged in the debate, and he appears to be presenting a compromise between proponents and opponents of the issue. According to the Dayton Daily News:

“The governor takes the side of business on a number of issues related to protecting against abuse of the sick-day policy. He wants a compromise that allows only licensed medical professionals to be eligible to provide medical certification for an employee taking leave.” The article goes on to say, “Strickland also wants a policy that would encourage employees to give notice when they are going to use leave and enables businesses to discipline those who repeatedly use accrued leave with little or no notice. Further, the governor wants businesses to be able to manage medical information so they can protect against fraud.”

The Debate

Below, you can watch a short debate between the SEIU’s Dave Regan and and the National Federation of Independent Business’ Ty Pine. (From WOSU Public Media)

For more information about the Ohio Healthy Families Act, visit ERC’s Ohio Healthy Families Act Resource Center. The Resource Center is packed with information about the Act, a brief history, resources for employers, and articles on the issue.

Sources: SHRM’s HR Week Update: August 4, 2008; “Ohio governor presses compromise on sick days,” Stephen Majors: August 1, 2008 – AP (Dayton Daily News); http://www.sickdaysohio.org; http://www.playsickohio.org; http://www.youtube.com

This entry was posted in Benefits & Leave, General HR and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Look at the Ohio Healthy Families Act

  1. Michelle Gorczyca says:

    This is yet another strike against small-buisiness owners–Ohio is already struggling. This selfish act by the SEIU to gain membership by creating this act will end up costing small companies a fortune while putting others under. The saddest part of it all, is that most voters are not educated regarding the Presidential race let alone on an act that gives them 7 more days off of work–they will ignorantly that is why it has a great chance of passing. So word to the wise, educate your employees who will hopefully educate thier family and friends.

  2. AlexM says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  3. greatworkplace says:

    Thanks Alex!

  4. Looking past the vigorous and healthy debate over the Ohio Healthy Families Act, a reality is that it appears likely to pass. Once it does, employers will not be able to reduce other types of paid leave in order to provide paid sick days. Therefore, employers should seriously consider making changes to existing paid leave policies (vacation, paid time off, personal days) and provide paid sick days now, before the Act passes. Afterwards, employers will not have that flexibility.

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