The National Trend Toward Paid Sick Leave Laws

By John Mavros Attorney at Law, Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP | May 06, 2018

Co-authored by Lauren Stockunas, Associate, Fisher Phillips LLP

While all employers strive to maintain a healthy workforce, complying with the new Paid Sick Leave ("PSL") laws that are sweeping the country can make even the savviest human resources manager's head spin.  And while Congress continues to forgo passing a national PSL law, individual states and cities are taking initiative.  These viral PSL laws make drafting and implementing a uniform-all-inclusive PTO ("Paid Time Off")/PSL policy across multiple hotel and resort locations exceedingly difficult.  This article will try to help hoteliers make sense of the confusion. 

The varying laws in different jurisdictions can make compliance difficult for hoteliers with multiple properties.  Here is a snapshot of the state of PSL laws across the country:

On the other end of the spectrum, certain states have actually prohibited counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions from establishing paid sick leave requirements for private employers.  These include:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Although each state and local law is unique, they typically address and/or define the following PSL concepts/terms including:  eligible employees, an accrual formula, reasons for leave, carry over requirements, rate of pay information, and employee and employer notice requirements.  The problem is that each law defines them differently.

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Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.