Monday, May 01, 2017

Big business is asking Congress for a 'safe harbor' from state and local paid leave laws (laura Clawson) · Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 4:16 pm

Since Congress won’t pass paid sick leave or paid family leave laws—thanks, Republicans!—many states and cities have started taking action to make sure their workers have those protections. But now big business sees its chance and is lobbying congressional Republicans to protect it from all those state and local laws. Josh Eidelson reports that, while Donald Trump campaigned on the claim that he supported paid family leave:

Now big business is countering the calls with a proposal of its own: Congress should establish a certain optional amount of paid leave and, if companies meet that threshold, they should be protected from state or local laws that might require more.

The proposal is part of a report being released Tuesday by the HR Policy Association, a coalition of more than 380 major U.S. companies. Together, the group’s members employ 9 percent of America’s private-sector workers. Executives on the committee behind the report represent companies including Marriott International, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Cigna, General Electric, Wendy’s, Oracle and General Mills.

The idea is that Congress sets a floor that’s also a ceiling—a company that gives as much paid leave as the Republican-controlled Congress thinks is enough gets a free pass on city and state laws that require more. The companies say they want this law because it’s just so difficult to keep track of a patchwork of laws … but a federal law requiring a certain amount of paid leave?

That’s not an idea the HR Policy Association has embraced. “I think that probably feels a little too intrusive for our membership,” said Johnna Torsone, executive vice president of Pitney Bowes, who worked on the report and chairs the association’s Employment Rights Committee. Offering a safe harbor, she said, “feels more amenable” to industry leaders.

Yeah, “feels more amenable” in the sense of “lets them get away with more.” Which is basically what congressional Republicans are always looking to deliver to big business.


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