Federal bill would give employees two weeks of paid time off


Leave could be for any reason

Full-time employees would be guaranteed two weeks of paid leave under a new federal bill. The Protected Time Off (PTO) Act, a bill recently introduced in Congress (HR 7752/S4003) would, if passed, require all employers with at least one employee in the current or preceding calendar year to comply.

Employees could use the leave for any reason and employers could not require employees to disclose the reason. Employers would need to give new hires information about the leave, include the information in an employee handbook, and post a related notice.

The bill's other provisions

As written, the bill also includes the following:

  • Accrual: Employees would accrue one hour of paid leave for every 25 hours worked. Employers could, however, cap the amount of leave taken to 80 hours (two weeks) per year. Exempt employees would be deemed to work 40 hours per week. Employees would begin accruing the leave upon hire and may begin using the leave 60 days later.
  • Carry over and pay: Employees carry over up to 40 hours of unused leave to the next year. Employers would pay employees the same rate as if they were not on leave. Tipped employees would be paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher. Employers must also pay out any unused leave upon separation. If rehired within 12 months, employees get their leave reinstated.
  • Notice: Employers may require employees to provide two weeks' notice of the leave, except for emergencies.
  • Scheduling: Employers may also place reasonable restrictions regarding the scheduling of the leave and may deny leave for bona fide business reasons if they provide reasonable alternative times for the leave.
  • Concurrency: The leave would not run concurrent with leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or sick leave.
  • Protections: Employers would be prohibited from discharging or discriminating against employees for exercising their leave rights. The leave may not be counted under no-fault attendance policies.

This bill is only in the first of legislative steps. Similar bills have been introduced in the past but did not get enacted. While this measure has little chance of becoming law, it is another illustration of the paid leave trend.

Key to Remember: If enacted, employers would need to give employees two weeks of paid time off for any reason.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


The J. J. Keller LEAVE MANAGER service is your business resource for tracking employee leave and ensuring compliance with the latest Federal and State FMLA and leave requirements.