Tell Your Senator to Vote NO on Paid Quarantine Leave (HB 5116 – Guzman)

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The Paid Quarantine Leave bill (HB 5116 – Guzman) requires employers to provide eligible employees paid quarantine leave. The leave must be provided for any employee to seek medical care for a potential COVID-19 illness, to provide care for a family member, or because of a required quarantine. This mandate places a substantial burden on employers and the exemptions in the bill do not provide sufficient relief.

Virginia businesses and their employees are already suffering from the economic downturn and effects of the pandemic. Adding another employment mandate is not the answer to keeping people employed.

HB 5116 adds a benefit mandate without any meaningful way to pay for it. Although proponents say federal, state or local funds are available to assist employers, this is simply not true for most businesses in Virginia.

Adding another layer of leave requirements on top of what is already required by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the state’s recently adopted workplace standards, increases the complexity and cost to doing business in Virginia. This harms businesses and employees.

HB 5116 hits small and larger employers alike and the so-called “exemption for small businesses” is virtually non-existent the way the exemption is crafted.

As written, HB 5116 opens the possibility that employers will be required to offer paid quarantine leave multiple times for the same employee.

Now is not the time to saddle job creators with additional employment mandates when we are struggling to keep workers employed in a safe and reasonable fashion.