Overview: Employers must be careful in administering and managing the various forms of an employee's time off from work. Some forms of time off may be legally required of certain employers - such as Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Other forms of time off - such as paid time off (PTO) or bereavement leave - may be voluntarily offered by the employer. Employers must always consider what types of leave they are required to offer by law and in accordance with their policies - and in what situations. Most importantly, employers must apply all policies in a consistent and uniform manner.
When an employer creates leave policies or documents relating to time off, the employer should consider which employees will be eligible for the particular leaves (e.g., part-time versus full-time), the terms of the specific leave and the process for requesting leave. Employers should consider offering some form of time off, such as paid time off, to allow their employees to get some down time, which will assist the employer in employee recruitment and retention efforts.
Whether time off is legally required or voluntarily provided, all forms of time off (or leave) should be carefully tracked and documented. Supervisors and managers should be trained on the various forms of time off so they know how to apply the policies or practices properly and know when to reach out to HR. Larger multistate employers may consider adopting uniform time off policies across all states to ease administrative burdens and to create a more unified company culture.
Trends: Paid time off is generally not required by federal law. However, some states (e.g., California, Connecticut, Oregon and Massachusetts) and several municipalities (e.g., Newark, Trenton, New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle) require paid sick leave for eligible employees. Similar legislation is spreading in other jurisdictions.
Author: Melissa S. Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor
Pittsburgh has delayed implementation of its Paid Sick Days Act from January 11, 2016, to March 11, 2016.
Effective December 27, 2015, Jersey City, New Jersey's Earned Sick Time Ordinance is amended to require more employers to provide paid sick leave.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Pennsylvania employment law requirements HR must follow in respect to FMLA.
New York employers seeking to inform employees about the availability of and eligibility requirements for volunteer emergency responder leave and to demonstrate compliance with New York law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Indiana employers employing 50 or more employees for each working day for at least 20 calendar weeks should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Missouri employers seeking to educate employees about the availability of time off for voting and to show their compliance with Missouri's voting leave law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
The School Activities Leave handbook statement has been removed from the Colorado handbook.
California employers seeking to educate employees about the availability of paid sick and safe time (using the lump sum, rather than accrual method) and to show their compliance with California's Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
To assist a California employer that wishes to provide paid sick and safe time using the "lump sum" method, XpertHR has added a new statement to the California handbook.
HR guidance on administering and managing employees' time off from work.