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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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.