Why mandating paid sick leave during a public health emergency wouldn’t be easy

Reporter: Nicole Lauren
Published: Updated:
Credit: Pixabay/MGN

To make someone choose between their health and getting paid isn’t easy.

We heard both sides, with one person saying he wouldn’t mind staying home if it meant not getting sick.

“I would stay home. I would avoid all people and just stay out of contact with people, even if it cost me money,” said Jeff Otto of Fort Myers.

Angela Brunton had a different outlook.

“I would go to work and just be super diligent with handwashing and be aware of my surroundings, and I would go to work,” she said.

So if the governor did want to mandate companies to give emergency sick leave, he can do so through an executive order.

That would only affect state agencies, but if he wanted to impose something like that on a municipality or private company, it wouldn’t be easy.

Lawyer and FGCU Law Professor Pam Seay told us why that is.

“So if there is funding provided for municipalities, counties and cities and so forth, to require them to also participate then that would be fine, but you can’t force them to spend money because they might not be able to, and that’s the thing, you can’t force people to spend money they don’t have,” Seay said.

The current bill that would pass this federally is a part of the Healthy Families Act. Right now, it’s still in committee.

That would automatically force the employer to give 14 days paid sick leave in the case of a public health emergency.

Whether that bill will pass, Seay says she’s unsure.

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