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
As mandated by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation's Division of Labor and Industry, all Maryland employers must post the Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Employee Notice Poster.
Maryland employers with 15 or more employees seeking to educate employees about the availability of paid sick, safe and parental leave and to show their compliance with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Maryland employers with fewer than 15 employees seeking to educate employees about the availability of unpaid sick, safe and parental leave and to show their compliance with the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Updated to include the forthcoming Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.
The Maryland General Assembly has voted to override Governor Larry Hogan's veto of a 2017 bill to enact the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which mandates employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave. The law is the ninth statewide paid sick leave law in the nation.
As required by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, employers covered by Washington's paid sick leave law (Initiative 1433) that choose to frontload an employee's paid sick leave balance before it would otherwise accrue may use the Washington Employee Notification of Frontloaded Paid Sick Leave Form to comply with notice requirements.
HR support for managing paid sick leave.