Overview: In the past, providing paid sick leave was at an employer's discretion in the private sector. Now, a handful of states, plus more than two dozen municipalities across the country, have passed paid sick leave laws, with more on the way.
This means that an employer located in - or with employees located in - any state or city with a paid sick leave law needs to be taking every necessary step to ensure compliance. The job is even more difficult if the employer must comply with paid sick leave laws in more than one state or city. HR must understand the nuances of each applicable law and how the laws work together (or don’t) in order to effectively: 1) write policies; 2) establish procedures; and 3) guide management.
One of the major policy decisions an employer needs to consider is whether employees will accrue sick leave based on hours worked or will have the full bank of sick time frontloaded at the beginning of each year. Multi-jurisdictional employers need to decide whether to apply one policy to all locations (thereby providing the most generous leave benefits to employees) or to administer different policies depending on where employees work.
An employer needs a system for tracking each employee's hours worked in a covered location and sick leave accrued (if that is the approach used by the employer). An employer should also ensure employees receive proper - and timely - notice of their paid sick leave rights. In some jurisdictions, an employer must provide employees with their individual sick leave accrual and usage information.
Employees generally are protected from retaliation for requesting or using sick leave. Therefore, it is extremely important that managers not only understand the policies and procedures to follow when approached with a sick leave request, but also how a negative reaction to a sick leave request may be seen as illegal retaliation.
Trends: Many paid sick leave laws include so-called "safe" time provisions, which provide leave rights to employees affected by domestic and sexual violence. Under such laws, an employee may be entitled to take leave not only to receive medical care but also to attend court proceedings, relocate, obtain counseling or obtain services from a victim services organization.
Author: Melissa Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor
Updated guidance to reflect updated FAQs issued by the City of San Diego.
Employers with 10 or more employees should include this statement in their handbook to educate employees who work within the City of Oakland about the availability of paid sick leave and to show their compliance with Oakland's Paid Sick Leave Law.
Employers with fewer than 10 employees should include this statement in their handbook to educate employees who work within the City of Oakland about the availability of paid sick leave and to show their compliance with Oakland's Paid Sick Leave Law.
As mandated by the Arizona Industrial Commission's Labor Department, all employers subject to the Arizona Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act must post the Arizona Earned Paid Sick Time Poster.
As mandated by the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, all employers with covered employees who work in St. Paul must post the City of St. Paul, Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time Notice to Employees.
A Los Angeles employer that is required to provide paid sick leave under the Los Angeles Minimum Wage Ordinance may retain an established paid leave or PTO policy, if the city determines the policy is overall more generous. An employer may request a determination by completing and submitting a form to the Office of Wage Standards.
Updated guidance to reflect the forthcoming requirements of the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.
Under New York City's Earned Sick Time Act, an employer may ask an employee to sign a form if he or she wants to use earned sick leave for a foreseeable need.
HR support for managing paid sick leave.