Rhode Island Enacts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

October 4, 2017

Rhode Island's governor has signed a new paid sick and safe leave law that takes effect July 1, 2018.

The "Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act" law will require employers with 18 or more employees to provide employees at least one hour of paid sick and safe leave time for every 35 hours they have worked, up to a maximum of 24 hours per calendar year. The maximum will increase to 32 hours per year in 2019 and to 40 hours per year in 2020.

Employees may use this leave when they or a family member (defined as a child, parent, spouse, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, sibling, care recipient or household member) need to attend to:

  • A mental or physical illness, injury or health condition;
  • A medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition;
  • Preventive medical care;
  • Certain closures due to public health emergencies;
  • Certain quarantine situations; or
  • Leave needed as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Rhode Island joins seven states and several municipalities that require (or soon will require) private employers to provide some form of paid sick leave to eligible employees.

Governor Gina M. Raimondo said in a statement, "Being able to recover from an illness or care for a sick relative without having to worry about losing your job or going without pay is a basic right that Rhode Islanders deserve. Treating workers with dignity and respect is imperative to creating a strong, productive workforce, but more importantly, it's the right thing to do."