Report Title:

Sick Leave

Description:

Requires health care facilities and health care providers to provide one day of sick leave per month for each employee, to be used as needed and prohibits them from allowing an employee to come to work if the employee is experiencing any type of contagious illness.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1414

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to sick leave.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the health and safety of hospitalized patients is a major concern of the public. Some hospitalized patients are at high risk for contracting infectious diseases because of compromised immune systems. This includes patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Health care facilities have typically provided sick leave for their employees since employees who are sick are unable to provide quality care and also can potentially infect their patients if they have a communicable disease.

Sick leave benefits for nurses and other healthcare workers are essential because of the risks inherent in the healthcare profession. Hospitals and other facilities often treat patients who have contracted infectious diseases, thereby exposing nurses and other healthcare workers to these diseases. These employees are also exposed to a variety of occupational hazards such as needlesticks, back injuries, workplace violence, latex allergies, and chemical exposures.

Until recently, most healthcare employers provided approximately one sick day per month, to be taken as needed when the employee was ill. However, it would appear that with recent nurse-employer negotiations, sick leave has been threatened. The State does not however wish to infringe upon issues that would best be left to collective bargaining. However, the legislature feels that sick leave is not an issue that can be negotiated because it is a crucial patient safety concern. People catch sicknesses in hospitals more than anywhere else and this is an ongoing problem that must be addressed. It is the duty of the State to do everything within its power to protect the public health. The legislature wishes to establish a floor so that everything that can be done with the law, will be done, in terms of protecting public health, encouraging health care facilities to put the public's health interest before any other interest, financially, or otherwise.

The legislature further finds that medical employers shall not permit employees to come to work if the employee is experiencing any type of contagious illness (including, but not limited to, light colds and flues that may be insignificant to the employee, but which may be extremely dangerous to a patient whose immune system is compromised), that would endanger and compromise the health and well being of patients. The legislature also believes that an employer should not encourage any employee to come to work or remain at work if that employee has any type of contagious illness.

SECTION 2. Chapter 323, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"323-A Sick leave. (a) All health care facilities and health care providers in the State shall provide each employee with one sick leave day per month, to be used as needed. Part-time employees shall have their sick leave prorated.

(b) All health care facilities and health care providers shall not:

(1) Permit an employee to work if the employee is experiencing any type of contagious illness that would endanger or compromise the health and well-being of a patient; or

(2) Encourage any employee to come to work or remain at work if that employee has any type of contagious illness.

(c) For purposes of this section:

"Contagious disease" includes, but is not limited, to a light cold, flu, or any illness which may be extremely dangerous to a patient whose immune system is compromised.

"Health care facilities" means any outpatient clinic, emergency room, or doctor's office, private or public, whether organized for profit or not, used, operated, or designed to provide medical diagnosis, treatment, nursing, rehabilitative, or preventive care to any person or persons.

The term includes but is not limited to health care facilities that are commonly referred to as hospitals, extended care and rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, hospices for the terminally ill that require licensure or certification by the department of health, kidney disease treatment centers including freestanding hemodialysis units, outpatient clinics, organized ambulatory health care facilities, emergency care facilities and centers, home health agencies, health maintenance organizations, and others providing similarly organized services regardless of nomenclature.

"Health care provider" means an individual licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized or permitted by law to provide health care in the ordinary course of business."

323-B Revocation, suspension, and fines. In addition to any other actions authorized by law, after affording all interested parties reasonable opportunity for a fair hearing the appropriate licensing authority may revoke or suspend any license, or impose a fine not to exceed $1,000 per violation of section 323-A."

SECTION 3. In codifying the new sections added by section 2 of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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