HR Support on Employee Time Off Policies

Editor's Note: Consider all forms of time off and apply policies consistently.

Melissa S. BurdorfOverview: 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 (such as Connecticut) and municipalities (such as New York City and Seattle) require paid sick leave for eligible employees. Similar legislation is spreading in other jurisdictions.

Author: Melissa S. Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Time Off

  • Sick Time Handbook Statement [1-10 Employees]: Massachusetts

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Massachusetts employers with 10 or fewer employees that seek to educate employees about the availability of unpaid sick time and to show their compliance with the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (ESTL) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Paid Sick Time Handbook Statement [11+ Employees]: Massachusetts

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Massachusetts employers with an average of 11 or more employees that seek to to educate employees about the availability of paid sick time and to show their compliance with the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (ESTL) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Unpaid Sick Time - Hotel Workers Handbook Statement: Los Angeles, California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Hotel employers in the City of Los Angeles seeking to educate employees about the availability of unpaid sick time and to show their compliance with the Los Angeles uncompensated time off ordinance should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Paid Time Off - Hotel Workers Handbook Statement: Los Angeles, California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Hotel employers in the City of Los Angeles with 300 or more guest rooms or suites of rooms and hotels within the Airport Hospitality Enhancement Zone (AHEZ) with 50 or more guest rooms or suites of rooms that seek to educate employees about the availability of paid time off and to show their compliance with the Los Angeles compensated time off ordinance should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Oregon Paid Sick Leave Law Enacted

    Date:
    25 June 2015
    Type:
    News

    On June 22, Oregon became the fourth state (behind Connecticut, California and Massachusetts) to enact a paid sick leave law. Employers fortunately have time to become compliant as the law does not take effect until January 1, 2016, and most civil penalties applicable to employer violations of the law will not be assessed until after January 1, 2017. Penalties associated with provisions prohibiting retaliation and employer absence control policies will not be assessed until after January 1, 2016.

  • Paid Sick and Safe Time Handbook Statement: California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    California employers seeking to educate employees about the availability of paid sick and safe time and to show their compliance with California's Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Paid Leave Expansion Funds Offered by DOL

    Date:
    17 June 2015
    Type:
    News

    In support of the Obama Administration's commitment to expand American workers' access to paid leave, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced this week that it is offering $1.25 million in grants to help state and local policymakers study the feasibility of developing paid leave programs on a national scale.

  • Maryland Flexible Leave Act Amended to Enhance Retaliation Protection: Employment Law Manual Updated, Legal Timetable Entry Added

    Date:
    15 June 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    Maryland has amended its Flexible Leave Act to prohibit retaliation against employees who request leave and to void any agreement in which an employee waives his or her leave rights under the law.

  • Emeryville, California, Passes Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Employment Law Manual, Quick Reference Charts Updated

    Date:
    15 June 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    Emeryville, California, has passed a minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinance that takes effect July 1, 2015.

  • Date:
    15 June 2015
    Type:
    Legal Timetable