Paid sick leave, overtime bills advance in Virginia Senate


Legislation that would put additional mandates on some businesses to provide paid sick leave for workers and overtime pay for salaried positions passed the Virginia Senate on Thursday.

Both pieces of legislation have already passed the House, but the Senate amended the bills, which will mean they’ll have to head back to the House for consideration. If Senate and House lawmakers fail to agree on the specifics of the bills, then they will both have to go to a joint conference committee in which lawmakers from both chambers will hash out compromise legislation.

House Bill 2137, sponsored by Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Dale City would require businesses that employ essential workers to provide paid sick leave for these workers. The paid sick leave mandate would apply to an eligible employee who works at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month.

Democratic lawmakers argue the legislation is necessary to grant protections for workers on the frontline of the pandemic. However, it’s received opposition from Republican leaders who claim additional burdens on businesses during a health pandemic that has caused many of them to lose income. Members of the business community have also warned that the legislation could cause businesses to lay off workers or cut their hours if they cannot afford to give them all paid sick leave.

The legislation would also apply to workers taking sick leave to care for an immediate family member. It would prohibit any disciplinary or retaliatory action taken against a worker for using paid sick leave they accrued.

House Bill 2063, sponsored by Del. Michael Mullin, D-Newport News, would apply the state’s overtime pay rules for salaried employees. This also passed on a mostly partisan divide.

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