Report Title:

Family Leave

 

Description:

Establishes a new data collection system for family leave. Extends applicability of the family leave law to employers with 50 or more employees. Makes appropriation. (HB982 HD1)

 


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

982

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT


 

 

RELATING TO FAMILY LEAVE.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that over twenty-five per cent of Hawaii's households contain at least one individual providing informal, unpaid care to an adult aged sixty or older with physical or cognitive disabilities. This percentage is expected only to increase. Projections indicate that by the year 2020, more than one in four individuals will be aged sixty or older, and an individual's need for personal care assistance due to physical, sensory, cognitive, and self-care disabilities increases with age.

The legislature finds that the average age of family caregivers is fifty-four years of age, which is well below the age of retirement. Over fifty-five per cent of the family caregivers are employed, and of this group, over twenty-six per cent indicate that their employment is affected by their care-giving responsibilities. Reduction in work hours was an oft cited effect, followed by turning down promotions and taking leaves of absence. Nearly all of the family caregivers surveyed stated that they frequently rearrange their work schedules, and over seventy-seven per cent take time off from work to deal with care-giving responsibilities.

The legislature finds that approximately ten per cent of the Hawaii workforce, or over eighty thousand employees, may currently seek or need to take some form of leave to address family caregiver issues.

The legislature further finds that while federal law extends its benefits to firms with fifty or more employees, these individuals must be employed for a minimum of one year. This requirement blocks access to family leave for a large number of individuals who may be working in industries that expand or contract with short-term economic circumstances or for workers who may hold a number of part-time or casual hire positions.

The legislature further finds that Hawaii's family leave law, embodied in chapter 398, Hawaii Revised Statutes, only requires employment for six consecutive months but does not extend to employees of firms with fewer than one hundred employees. State data indicate that of the 511,508 private-sector employees in the year 2006, 209,731, or forty-one per cent, were covered by Hawaii's family leave law, and 301,777, or fifty-nine per cent, were not covered. The gap between employers with fifty or more employees and firms with one hundred or more employees may represent approximately 100,000 employees in Hawaii. For state government employees, those categorized as "emergency hire" or "casual hire" or those working less than twenty hours per week are also unable to access family leave benefits.

The legislature further finds that in seeking to analyze and develop improvements to the family leave system there is inadequate data about the use of and need for family leave. There is currently no requirement made of private employers to report family leave data to the State.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Reconcile certain differences in federal and state family leave benefits by adopting the federal scope of applicability for family leave, which covers employees of firms with fifty or more employees, and applying that scope of applicability to all employees in the state who are employed by firms with fifty or more employees, thereby replacing the current scope of applicability, which covers employees employed by firms with one hundred or more employees;

(2) Create a data collection system that is capable of analyzing and reporting family caregiving data for both public and private employees;

(3) Ensure that information about uncovered employees is captured by the data system; and

(4) Create the basis for development of a data-driven paid family leave system that can complement other care giver services, especially for elder family members.

SECTION 2. Chapter 398, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"398- Family leave data collection system; establishment. (a) There is established a family leave data collection system for the purposes of:

(1) Ensuring that all employees covered by the benefits of this chapter are informed of their rights under this chapter and their names are entered into the data base upon application for benefits;

(2) Collecting pertinent data, consistent with state and federal privacy statutes, on the use and potential demand for family leave benefits for both governmental and private-sector employees, including but not limited to information on who and under what circumstances employees are using family leave benefits, the nature and duration of family members' needs, and the adequacy of current family leave benefits;

(3) Providing analysis of the data to assist in the development and implementation of an efficient system of family leave, including potential paid family leave, for employees in Hawaii; and

(4) Providing analysis of data to assist in the future development of caregiver services for senior citizens in Hawaii.

(b) The department shall work with the University of Hawaii center on aging to create a web-based data system with the following capabilities:

(1) The capacity for all employees seeking family leave benefits under this chapter to log into and enter pertinent data on the circumstances and need for family leave benefits;

(2) The ability to secure confidential information, consistent with state and federal privacy statutes, available only in aggregate form for managers and analysts of the data system;

(3) The ability of the employee to print out a simple form to be submitted to the employer certifying that required data has been entered;

(4) The ability of the data managers and analysts to manipulate and query the data base to achieve the purpose of this chapter;

(5) A back-up paper system that can be used when computer access or printing is unavailable; and

(6) A user-friendly format that can be translated into multiple languages for employees.

(c) The state auditor shall be provided access to the data base and shall prepare annual reports to the legislature, the department, and the University of Hawaii center on aging."

SECTION 3. Section 398-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending the definition of "employer" to read as follows:

""Employer" means any individual or organization, including the State, any of its political subdivisions, any instrumentality of the State or its political subdivisions, any partnership, association, trust, estate, joint stock company, insurance company, or corporation, whether domestic or foreign, or receiver or trustee in bankruptcy, or the legal representative of a deceased person, who employs [one hundred] fifty or more employees for each working day during each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year."

SECTION 4. Section 398-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]398-2[]] Inapplicability. The rights provided under this chapter shall not apply to employees of an employer with fewer than [one hundred] fifty employees."

SECTION 5. Section 398-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]398-5[]] Notice. In any case in which the necessity for family leave is foreseeable, the employee shall provide the employer with prior notice of the expected birth or adoption or serious health condition in a manner that is reasonable and practicable. Requests for family leave shall include evidence that the employee has submitted the request and provided required data in accordance with section 398-   ."

SECTION 6. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009-2010 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2010-2011 for the University of Hawaii center on aging to cover the estimated costs of the:

(1) Development of a web-based data system as provided by this Act;

(2) Purchase of hardware, software, servers, and other necessary elements of the system; and

(3) Costs of personnel required to maintain the system.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the University of Hawaii for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2009.