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
Employers that have 50 or more employees in private employment in Nevada should consider including this statement in their handbook to educate employees about the availability of paid leave and to show their compliance with Nevada's Paid Leave Law.
Updated to reflect amendments regarding health care benefits and penalties for discrimination in Nevada.
Updated to reflect rules implementing the forthcoming Duluth paid sick leave law.
Updated to reflect changes to Colorado's Wage Protection Act Rules and the addition of the Colorado Vacation Handbook Statement.
Updated to include the Civil Air Patrol leave law, effective October 1, 2019.
Updated to incorporate the state paid family and medical leave law, with notice and posting requirements, effective September 30, 2019, and new hire notice and contribution collection requirements, effective October 1, 2019.
Maryland employers seeking to show their compliance with Maryland's Day of Rest law should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR guidance on administering and managing employees' time off from work.