State AGs Pressure Large Employers to Increase Paid Leave Benefits

March 27, 2020

A group of 14 state attorneys general are calling on certain large employers to offer the same paid leave benefits small employers are required to provide under the recently-enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Background:  Under the FFCRA employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide nearly all employees with 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave and 10 weeks of emergency paid family leave benefits if they are impacted by the coronavirus.

The AGs criticize the targeted companies for having paid leave policies that are inconsistent with the CDC's recommended strategies for employers to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and allege they are putting their customers and the public at significant risk.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “federal law provides certain guidelines for paid leave, and employers have an obligation to abide by those rules.”  The letter further urges the companies “to adopt a more generous paid leave policy for the companies’ employees and independent contractors.”

Takeaway:  Large employers will continue to feel this pressure, as in the coming weeks Congressional Democrats are likely to call on them to provide the same paid leave benefits that are in FFCRA to their employees.