Navigating State Required Paid Sick Leave

Last Updated on May 14, 2023 by G. T. HR

As an employer, it’s crucial to understand the ins and outs of state required paid sick leave laws. These laws can vary widely from state to state, and it’s your responsibility to ensure your business is compliant. Therefore, it is important that you have an expert resource to assist you with compliantly navigating these laws.

The Basics of State Required Paid Sick Leave

State required paid sick leave is time off that employees can take when they or a family member are ill, needing medical care, or in certain cases, dealing with issues related to domestic violence or the closure of a school or workplace due to a public health emergency. Unlike unpaid leave, paid sick leave allows employees to receive their regular pay while they’re out of the office.

Federal vs. State Laws

Federal Sick Leave Laws

At the federal level, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. However, it doesn’t require employers to provide paid sick leave.

State Sick Leave Laws

When it comes to required paid sick leave, it’s the state laws that take center stage. As of May 2023, the following have laws requiring employers to provide sick leave:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, DC

Maine and Nevada have laws requiring accrued paid time off, but it is not limited to sick leave. If your business is located in one of these states, you must comply with these laws.

Understanding State Variations

Each state with a state required paid sick leave law has different rules. For instance, in California, employees earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. In contrast, in Arizona, employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, but the amount they can use per year varies depending on the size of the business.

In addition to how much leave employees can earn, laws may also differ in terms of how soon employees can start using their sick leave after they start a job, what they can use the leave for, and whether unused leave can be carried over to the next year.

See an overview of each state’s required paid sick leave laws HERE.

The Importance of Clear Policies

As an employer, it’s important to establish clear sick leave policies. These policies should be communicated to all employees and should outline how and when employees can request sick leave, how sick leave accrues, and any other relevant details. Remember, your policy must meet the minimum standards set by your state’s law, but you can always choose to provide more generous benefits.

We recommend including state required paid sick leave policies in your employee handbook. This ensures they are communicated consistently and acknowledged as received by the employee. If you operate in multiple states, it is important you have an experienced resource in developing handbooks that meet the needs of the states you operate.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with your state’s required paid sick leave laws could result in penalties. These can range from fines to being required to pay back wages. In some cases, employees can even sue employers who violate these laws. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to ensure you have the expert resources to track the state required sick leave laws in your states to ensure compliance.

Understanding state required paid sick leave laws can seem complicated, but it’s a critical part of being a responsible employer. By familiarizing yourself with these laws and establishing clear, fair policies, you can ensure your business stays on the right side of the law.

Are Your Sick Leave Policies Compliant With Federal and State Law?

Make sure that your business’s state sick leave policies are in compliance by receiving a compliance review from MyHRConcierge. Learn more about this service with a free consultation. Begin by scheduling it below.