Sick leave bill now reality in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Feeling sick? Beginning July 1 you may no longer be eligible for sick time.

A new state law takes away local government ordinances requiring employers to offer paid sick time.

"This law will take away their right to make those decisions for themselves at the local level," said Damien Filer, of the Florida Coalition for Local Control.

The coalition fought the bill in the legislative process. The group argues the new law wrongfully separates the poor and women from everyone else.

"It's disappointing; the governor clearly sided with big corporation over the interest of many Floridians," Filer said.

Those in support of the law say it creates consistency, predictability and conformity of regulation for employers across the state.

"Anytime a business is looking to settle or move to Floridak, they have to see what regulations will cost them," said Samantha Padgett, General Counsel of the Florida Retail Federation.

Before the bill was signed into law, two neighboring counties may have had different sick-time laws. Now, when someone crosses into a new county, the laws will be the same.

"It really does encourage development and it really does protect our economic growth in the state of Florida and encourage the economic growth," Padgett said.

"Those are great talking points, but there is no truth," Filer said. "And what we see consistently is when earned sick times are in place that it increases the economic stability of those places."

Opponents say they will work closely with the state to make sure employees, not just employers, are protected under this new law.

A recent public poll shows eight in 10 Floridians support employers providing sick time benefits.

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