The Workflex in the 21st Century Act: A Federal Paid Leave Plan

By Kathleen J. Jennings (

Yesterday, House Republicans introduced the Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219) as a new approach to work-life balance. This Bill would exempt employers from state and local paid leave obligations if they give workers a certain amount of general paid leave that can be used for medical, family, bereavement, vacation, and other reasons. It would also relieve participating federal contractors from existing paid leave requirements. The amount of leave required would vary from 12 to 20 days a year, including paid holidays, based on the business’s size and the time the worker has been on the job. Note that businesses seeking the safe harbor under this Bill would also have to offer at least one flexible work arrangement, like telecommuting, compressed schedules, and predictable or flexible schedules. Full-time and part-time workers would be eligible for the paid leave and flexible work arrangement benefits.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), helped design the legislation and is a strong supporter of it, as are employer groups. Supporters of this measure assert that this law would relieve employers from the burden of complying with a growing number of state and local laws that may require them to provide different amounts of paid leave to employees. Critics claim that this measure would give employees less leave time and less flexibility because the measure gives employers too much power to restrict when and how workers use their leave time.

You can view the Fact Sheet prepared by SHRM here. We’ll keep an eye on this legislation and provide updates as necessary.

Kathleen Jennings, Principal is a principal in the Atlanta office of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, & Stine, P.C. She defends employers in sexual harassment and other employment litigation and provides training and counseling to employers in employment matters. She can be contacted at

©2017 Wimberly Lawson

The materials available at this blog site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Wimberly Lawson and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s