Legislation would mandate paid sick leave

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Paid six leave actually benefits companies and should be required, a state senator said Monday in filing legislation that would require it.

The move is one of two measures filed by Senate Democratic Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Gov. Andy Beshear and other state leaders have encouraged businesses to provide paid sick leave, especially as people voluntarily stay home from work to guard against the coronavirus or spreading the flu.

Senate Bill 282 requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. The second proposal, Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 246, formally asks the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to assess Kentucky’s needs to address and isolate the virus and report back to the General Assembly on any allocations needed in the budget.

The paid sick leave bill would set minimum requirements for accruing leave and requires at least three paid sick days each year.

“Employers should realize that it is in their best interest to provide sick workers with time off,” McGarvey said. “Having a potentially sick employee puts others at risk, and we mustn’t take the health crisis we have on our hands lightly.”

The other measure, Senate Joint Resolution 246, inquires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to assess the situation and report to the General Assembly by March 31, 2020. The report would include its budgetary needs to combat the virus, steps for the preparation of mass gatherings, and communication with local communities about the need for resources for health care facilities.

“With the international outbreak of the coronavirus and the reported cases in Kentucky, we must stand ready to combat the spread of this virus,” McGarvey said. “Moving forward, the best thing we can do is not incite fear, but rather listen to the health care professionals and be informed on the best hygiene practices to marginalize transmission.”

SJR 246 also addresses the need for precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Kentucky. It proposes taking steps to impose quarantines, close public places, cancel public events, and assess the ability of local health care systems to respond to treatment needs.

SB 282 and SJR 246 both have been filed and will be reviewed for further consideration.

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