In some ways, President Trump is following the lead of a number of states on the subject of paid leave, but apparently he’s going it one better – adding fathers to his paid parental leave policy in federal jurisdictions. In a statement released earlier this week about Women’s Health Week, he was quoted as saying: “I am committed to working with Congress to help mothers – and fathers – have paid family leave so that childcare is accessible and affordable . . .” Previously, the president’s comments on the subject only referenced maternal paid leave. Elsewhere on the issue of paid leave, an effort by the city of Pittsburgh to resurrect its own local paid sick leave law was rejected by the Commonwealth Court in a 6-1 ruling. The court upheld a lower court ruling that found the city lacked the authority under state law to impose the sick leave mandate locally. Pittsburgh officials vow to appeal the ruling again to the state Supreme Court.
Nationally, the paid leave landscape is getting so cluttered with competing state and local paid leave mandates that some business groups are working to develop a uniform preemption law that could put an end to the patchwork that we are now seeing. The Society for Human Resource Management along with a few other business groups are working to develop threshold paid leave requirements at the national level that would set a national standard and then preempt state and/or local deviations. Despite their efforts, it is generally believed that the issue will continue to be decided at the state and local levels. Currently, 19 different states have laws preempting local paid leave mandates on private employers.