Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) mandates paid sick leave as well as COVID related PHE pay, and Southwest Airlines is suing because of it. According to court documents, Southwest claims the HFWA “imposes a pervasive and comprehensive paid sick leave scheme on employers.”
Their beef is not in providing paid sick leave benefits, which they assert they already do, but rather with the complete lack of ability they now have to require proof of illness when employees take sick leave. The HFWA only allows employers to request substantiation of paid sick leave taken under the act when illnesses have extended beyond four or more consecutive days. This means that an airline attendant, for example, seeking to take sick leave under the HFWA could communicate their illness with no advanced notice, potentially resulting in delays or cancellations of flights, they assert.
Because of union negotiations, based on collective bargaining agreements, the airline said their existing sick leave policy allows the company to monitor absences to ensure sick leave is not abused and to comply with federal safety rules. Unlike the HFWA restrictions, their former sick leave plan regulates discipline for abuse of sick time, including disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
This will be a fascinating one to watch, from the ground.