August 17, 2020


As many of you are aware, the General Assembly will begin a Special Session on Tuesday, August 18th to address Criminal Justice Reform and COVID-19 relief. Much of the legislation that will be considered during this session has not hit the system as of the time of dissemination of this email. We have received the priority list for the House Democratic Party which you can find HERE.  

Of note is the priority that all employers provide paid leave for employees. While we are still waiting to see details of the Paid Leave legislation, in general Virginia Retail Federation opposes a paid leave mandate on businesses. Here’s why:

  • Many of our members offer some form of leave for their employees and work with their employees to care for their health, especially in a situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Currently, many members already have to comply with the Paid Leave portion of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act at the federal level, so we are concerned with how the proposed state legislation will overlap with that.
  • Retail businesses need flexibility when it comes to the benefits they offer their employees, and mandates such as this tend to eliminate that flexibility. It cannot be a one size fits all approach especially in the economic situation retailers are facing today due to the Pandemic. 

On the other hand, we are anxiously awaiting to see the proposed legislation that would provide immunity from civil claims related to COVID-19 when businesses have complied with health guidance. This could be a welcome relief to retailers and businesses in general who are following all the guidelines in good faith.

This Special Session will be very different from those in the past, with the majority of the meetings taking place virtually over several weeks. It will be more important than ever for our members to engage in action alerts sent on specific issues as they are sent out. Please keep an eye out for action alerts and make sure to engage on those specific issues!
We will send out a more detailed report on all legislation that impacts the Retail Industry once all legislation is in the system. Should you have any questions, please reach out.