Sick leave for employees; private employers to give to each full-time employee paid sick days, etc. (SB824)

Introduced By

Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Leesburg) with support from co-patron Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Paid sick days for employees; civil penalties. Requires private employers to give to each full-time employee paid sick days. Paid sick days would accrue at a rate of no less than one hour for every 50 hours worked in 2018 or, if an employer commences operations in 2018 or thereafter, in the employer's first year of operations. In subsequent years, paid sick days would accrue at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee would be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the ninetieth calendar day of employment. The bill would require an employer to provide paid sick days, upon the request of the employee, for diagnosis, care, or treatment of health conditions of the employee or the employee's family member. The bill would prohibit an employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who requests paid sick days. The bill would require employers to satisfy specified posting and notice and recordkeeping requirements and would require the Commissioner of Labor and Industry (the Commissioner) to administer and enforce these requirements and to investigate alleged violations of these requirements. The bill would authorize the Commissioner to impose specified civil penalties for violations. The Commissioner would be authorized to bring an action to recover specified civil penalties against an offender. The Commissioner may also recover attorney fees of one-third of the amount set forth in the final order or judgment. The measure would not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides for paid sick days, nor would it lessen any other obligations of the employer to employees. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


11/09/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17100224D
11/09/2016Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/16/2017Impact statement from DPB (SB824)
02/03/2017Committee substitute printed to LIS only 17105057D-S1
02/03/2017Passed by indefinitely in Commerce and Labor (11-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)


ACLU-VA Women's Rights and Reproductive Freedom, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports SB824, which establishes an avenue for employees to earn paid sick leave in Virginia. Virginia’s workers, who comprise the backbone of the state’s economy, should not be forced to choose between financial stability and their health or the health of a loved one. This bill gives workers the opportunity to earn paid sick leave, thereby ensuring a healthy, stable, and productive workforce in Virginia. This bill will have a particularly significant impact on women workers. The majority of low-wage workers are women, and women make up nearly half the labor force. Seven in ten mothers of children under 18 hold jobs, and the vast majority contributes a substantial share of their families’ income. This bill would also have a significant impact on communities of color. These workers are amongst those least able to give up a day’s pay in exchange for a day home sick, or home with a sick child or family member. Without paid sick days, workers often have no choice but to go to work sick, which puts the health of their co-workers and the public at risk. The standard proposed by SB824 would level the playing field by making paid sick days a universal practice, while also ensuring enough flexibility for employers to continue offering more generous benefits. The passage of SB824 would result in healthier workplaces, reduced turnover, more satisfied and productive workers, and better bottom lines for Virginia businesses.

Laura Dely writes:

This is not only a bill of compassion, it is also a public health bill.
I work at Target and I see sneezing and coughing co-workers at work all the time. I wish them quick recovery, but I think about them as they ring up hundreds of purchases every day, or stock cases of goods - whatever their job, they handle goods in their hands that just wiped their sniffling noses, or covered a coughing mouth. Everything they touch has the potential to spread their illness.
When told that there are efforts to enact paid sick days, their faces light up. "I couldn't afford to take the day off, so I come to work sick," is a typical response. These workers just need to take care of their own health, let alone their children's or an ailing parent's.

Greenwin Communications, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This is a public health bill - we should think not only about families but also the low-income single people who either fear losing their jobs, or receiving fewer scheduled days, and reduced reviews. Also, think about sick workers who touch everything you buy at checkout or when they stock merchandise on shelves, in addition to sneezing or coughing on it, or you.
We also loose productivity when workers take longer to recover, so there is am economic argument that supports this bill.