When your employees have the flu, the last thing they want is to get out of bed to work. You probably don’t want them to come in and get everyone at your business sick either. But, if your business doesn’t offer paid sick leave, employees might force themselves to go to work. Some states have state-mandated paid sick leave to avoid an unhealthy workplace.
What is paid sick leave?
Sick leave is time off from work due to personal illness or to care for a sick family member. With paid sick leave, the employee receives the same wages as if they worked for the day. There is no federal sick leave law. But, some states have legislation that requires employers to offer paid sick leave for employees.
Some businesses include bereavement in sick leave. Bereavement time off is given to mourn the death of a loved one. Businesses can choose to offer a set amount of paid sick leave days or group them under a block of personal time off days, which includes vacation time.
Many businesses do not offer any form of paid sick leave. Instead, they let you take off of work if you are sick, but you don’t receive sick pay. Or, they might require you to make up the days.
State-mandated paid sick leave
States have different legislation on how employees accrue sick leave (e.g., 40 hours of work = 1 hour sick leave), the amount of sick leave they can earn per year, how many hours they can carry over to the next year, and when an employee can start earning and taking sick leave.
Paid sick leave laws by state
There are currently seven states, and Washington D.C., that have paid sick leave laws at the state level:
Each state has different laws on sick leave mandates. Take a look at the paid sick leave legislation by state to find out rules and regulations.
Connecticut enacted its state-mandated paid sick leave legislation in July 2011, making it the first state to require paid sick leave. Employers cannot penalize employees for using sick leave.
The sick leave legislation applies to employers with 50 or more employees. It does not include manufacturing businesses or nationally chartered non-profit organizations (see What Is 501(c)(3) Status?). Non-exempt workers in service occupations are covered under the state-mandated paid sick leave legislation.
Sick leave can be used for personal illness or the illness of a child or spouse. Covered employees receive one hour of sick leave per every 40 hours worked. Employees can start accruing sick leave immediately after being hired, but they must work 680 hours before using it.
Employees can earn up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. And, employees can carry over 40 unused hours from current year to the next year.
For more information on Connecticut’s paid sick leave, check out their Department of Labor website.
California’s state-mandated paid sick leave began in 2015. Employees can use their sick leave after their 90th day of employment. The law applies to all employees in California, but there are some exceptions.
Exceptions include those who are providers of publicly-funded In-Home Supportive Services, employees of air carrier companies who receive time off equivalent to the state mandate, and employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Employers can choose between an accrual policy and a no accrual/up front policy. With the accrual policy, employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Employees must have at least 24 hours of sick leave per year. Under the no accrual/up front policy, employees receive at least 24 hours of sick leave at the beginning of the year.
Employees are allowed to carry over paid sick leave from year to year, but employers can choose the maximum amount they can carryover.
Under California’s state-mandated paid sick leave, employees can take off work when they are sick or a family member is sick. A family member is described as an employee’s parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.
Visit California’s government website for more information on state-mandated paid sick leave.
If employers have 11 or more employees, they must provide paid sick leave. If an employer has less than 11 employees, they have the option of offering paid or unpaid sick leave.
All employers must provide paid sick leave to employees except the federal government and certain local public employers, like school committees. Employees whose primary place of work is in Massachusetts can receive state-mandated paid sick leave. The law does not apply to U.S. government employees, college students, students under 20 years, and an adult who is enrolled in a licensed program (e.g., apprenticeship).
An employee gains one hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked. However, an employer can decide whether employees accrue time as they work or give one set amount per month or year. Employees start accruing sick leave immediately.
Employees can earn up to 40 of sick leave hours per year. The number of hours an employee can carry over to the next year depends on how the employer gives them sick leave. If an employee is given sick leave from an hourly policy or receives a set amount each month, they can carry over at least 40 hours of sick time. But, an employer does not have to let employees carry over sick time if they receive one set amount at the beginning of each year.
Massachusetts’s Attorney General’s Office has more information on state-mandated paid sick leave.
Oregon’s state-mandated paid sick leave began in 2016. Employers with 10 or more employees must give their employees up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. And, employers with less than 10 employees need to give employees up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. In Portland, Oregon, employees with over six employees need to give up to 40 hours of paid sick leave, and employees with under six employees need to give employees up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.
Employees gain one hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked, or 1 and ⅓ hours for every 40 hours worked. Or, employers can give employees 40 hours of sick time at the beginning of each year. Employees can use their sick leave starting on the 91st day of employment.
At the end of the year, employees can carry over up to 40 hours of sick leave. Sick leave applies to an employee or an employee’s family member who has a mental or physical illness, bereavement, and caring for an infant or newly adopted child.
For more information, visit Oregon’s government website.
Vermont’s paid sick leave legislation went into effect at the beginning of 2017. Under Vermont’s law, employees earn one hour of sick leave per 52 hours worked. Employers can require employees to wait one year before using their sick leave.
There are a lot of regulations as to what employees are exempt from the new state-mandated paid sick leave law, including temporary employees or federal government employees.
Employers can limit the number of hours an employee can accrue to 24 hours for 2017 and 40 hours for 2018. Sick leave applies to the employee’s personal illness and illness of a family member. Family member includes parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child.
For more information about the new law, view Vermont’s full bill.
Arizona’s state-mandated paid sick leave law goes into effect in July 2017. Under this law, employees earn one hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours of work.
Employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. And, employers with under 15 employees only require employees to accrue up to 24 hours per year.
Sick leave can be used to care for a personal illness or a family member, which includes children, parents, spouses or domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and any person related by blood or affinity.
The state of Washington passed a paid sick leave law that goes into effect in 2018. Under the law, employees receive one hour of paid sick leave per 40 hours worked. There is no limit for the number of hours an employee can earn each year. Employees will begin accruing sick leave hours as soon as they start working.
At the end of the year, employees can carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. Sick leave can be used for personal illness or the illness of a family member.
Washington D.C. also has mandatory paid sick leave for employees. However, employees do not include independent contractors, students, or health care workers who choose a premium pay program. And, construction industry workers covered by collective bargaining agreement are also exempt from the law.
Employers with 100 or more employees must give employees at least one hour of sick leave per 37 hours worked. The maximum number of days is seven per year.
Employers with 25-99 employees must give employees at least one hour per 43 hours worked with a maximum of five days.
Employers with 24 or less employees must give employees at least one hour of paid leave per 87 hours worked. The maximum number of days per year is three.
Need help recording how many sick leave days your employees accrue and use? Patriot’s online time and attendance software is a great add-on to our online payroll software. Employees can enter their own hours, including paid sick leave. The hours are automatically stored in our online payroll software. Try both for free today!
This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.