Multiple bills were introduced that mandate businesses to provide one form of paid leave or another. There were bills that create a payroll tax/insurance program that would provide a certain amount of leave for employees if they met specific criteria; and there are bills that require flat number of days per year of leave for each employee. Only two bills on this subject remain after crossover. The first is Delegate Guzman’s bill for Paid Sick Leave for Essential Workers. This legislation would apply to all essential retail workers, as defined in the bill, of employers with 25 or more employees. The second is Senator Favola’s legislation that directs the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance to conduct a report on allowing the sale of individual and group Paid Family Leave plans in Virginia.

Active Paid Leave Legislation: 

HB 2137 - Guzman - Paid sick leave; employers to provide to certain employees (Passed the House 54-Y 46-N)

  • Requires employers to provide certain employees paid sick leave. An employee is eligible for paid sick leave under the bill if the employee is an essential worker and works on average at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month. The bill provides for an employee to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave benefit for every 30 hours worked. An employee shall not use more than 40 hours of earned paid sick leave in a year, unless the employer selects a higher limit. The bill provides that earned paid sick leave may be used for (i) an employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; an employee's need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or an employee's need for preventive medical care or (ii) care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; care of a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or care of a family member who needs preventive medical care. The bill prohibits employers from taking certain retaliatory actions against employees related to leave. The bill provides for a hardship waiver for employers that demonstrate that providing paid sick leave threatens the financial viability of the employer, jeopardizes the ability of the employer to sustain operations, significantly degrades the quality of the employer's business operations, or creates a significant negative financial impact on the employer. The bill requires the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to promulgate regulations that (a) identify workers as essential based on the categories listed in the bill; (b) include reasonable requirements for recordkeeping, confidentiality, and notifying employees of their rights under provisions of the bill; (c) establish complaint, investigation, and enforcement procedures that include fines, not to exceed $500, for violations of provisions of the bill; (d) establish requirements for compensation and accrual of paid sick leave for employees employed and compensated on a fee-for-service basis; and (e) include procedures and requirements for an employer to qualify for a hardship waiver. The provisions of the bill do not apply to a retail business with fewer than 25 employees

SB 1219 - Favola - Bureau of Insurance; paid family leave; report.

  • Directs the State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance (the Bureau) to review and make recommendations, including any necessary statutory and regulatory changes, to authorize the State Corporation Commission to approve the sale of individual and group paid family leave plans in Virginia. The bill requires the Bureau to also identify options and make recommendations for encouraging or incentivizing employers to voluntarily offer up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The bill requires the Bureau to convene a stakeholder group to participate in the process, which is required to include representatives from the insurance industry and the business community, advocates for paid family leave, and other interested parties. The bill requires the Bureau to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate Committees on Commerce and Labor and Finance and Appropriations and the House Committees on Labor and Commerce and Appropriations by November 30, 2021

Defeated Paid Leave Legislation: 

HB 2016 - Ayala - Paid family and medical leave program (Laid on the Table (defeated) in House Appropriations Subcommittee 8-Y 0-N)

  • Requires the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave. Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. The amount of a benefit is 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 80 percent of the state weekly wage, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. The bill provides self-employed individuals the option of participating in the program.

HB 2103 - Reid - Certain public & private employers to provide earned paid sick time. (Laid on the table (defeated) in House Appropriations Subcommittee 8-Y 0-N)

  • Requires public and private employers with 35 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide eligible employees, defined in the bill, with earned paid sick time and paid sick time. The bill provides for an eligible employee to earn up to 40 hours of earned paid sick time depending on the amount of hours the eligible employee has averaged over the previous year or, for a new employee, is projected to work. An eligible employee shall not earn or use more than 40 hours of earned paid sick time in a year, unless the employer selects a higher limit. The bill provides that earned paid sick time may be used (i) for an eligible employee's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; an eligible employee's need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or an eligible employee's need for preventive medical care; or (ii) to provide care to an eligible employee's family member, defined in the bill, under similar circumstances.
  • The bill prohibits employers from taking certain retaliatory actions against employees related to earned paid sick leave and authorizes the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, in the case of a knowing violation, to subject an employer to a civil penalty not to exceed $150 for the first violation, $300 for the second violation, and $500 for each successive violation, if the second or successive violation occurs within two years of the previous violation. The Commissioner of Labor and Industry may institute proceedings on behalf of an employee to enforce compliance with this bill and to collect specified amounts from the employer, which shall be awarded to the employee. Alternatively, an aggrieved employee is authorized to bring a civil action against the employer in which he may recover double the amount of any unpaid earned sick time and the amount of any actual damages suffered as the result of the employer's violation. However, an aggrieved employee is required to seek redress through the employer's human resources department prior to filing an administrative complaint or civil action. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023.

SB 1159 - Favola - Use sick leave for the care of immediate family members. (Stricken at the request of the Patron)

  • Requires employers with a sick leave program to allow an employee to use his sick leave for the care of an immediate family member. The measure applies only to employers that have 25 or more employees and that provide paid sick leave that allows an employee to be absent from work in the event of the employee's own incapacity, illness, or injury. The measure applies only to employees who work at least 30 hours per week, and it caps the amount of sick leave that may be used for the care of immediate family members at five days per calendar year.

SB 1330 - Boysko - Paid family and medical leave program. (Passed by Indefinitely in Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 12-Y 3-N)

  • Requires the Virginia Employment Commission to establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2024. Under the program, benefits are paid to eligible employees for family and medical leave. Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2023. The amount of a benefit is 80 percent of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed 80 percent of the state weekly wage, which amount is required to be adjusted annually to reflect changes in the statewide average weekly wage. The measure caps the duration of paid leave at 12 weeks in any application year. The bill provides self-employed individuals the option of participating in the program.