An increasing number of states have passed laws requiring employers to provide their employees with varying amounts of paid sick leave. Employers operating in multiple states or expanding to new states need to be aware of the common features of these individual state laws as well as their differences.

States Currently Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, have laws that mandate employers to offer paid sick leave. Maine and Nevada have laws requiring accrued paid time off, which is not limited to sick time. Some of the most recently passed state laws include the law in New Mexico, which goes into effect on July 1, 2022, and the law in Delaware, which goes into effect in January 2025, with benefits for workers available in 2026. 

Common Aspects of State Paid Sick Leave Mandates

While every law is slightly different, they do share commonalities, including:

  • The accruals of paid time off are based on the employee’s work location and hire date.
  • Employers who already provide the same or more leave time without more restrictions or limitations need not provide additional leave time beyond what they already provide.
  • Employees can use sick time not just for physical illness but also to care for mental health, engage in preventative care, and treat chronic conditions.
  • FLSA-exempt employees are considered to work 40 hours per week for leave time accrual.
  • Independent contractors are ineligible for leave time. 
  • Employers may require reasonable notice if sick leave is foreseeable.
  • Employers may require notice as soon as practicable if sick leave is unforeseeable. 
  • Worker protections and anti-retaliations provisions apply. 
  • Leave mandates don’t apply to federal government employers, but they often apply to state and local government employers.

Other Laws Requiring Paid Leave for Employees

The state paid sick leave laws discussed above do not include other laws that may require employers to provide their employees with other types of health or medical-related leave. Other such laws may include:

  • Local city or county ordinances or laws that require paid sick leave;
  • State laws providing for paid disability or family and medical leave;
  • Federal, state, or local emergency paid leave laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Unpaid job-protected leave, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act under federal law; or
  • Paid, unpaid, and/or job-protected leave under laws relating to bereavement, organ or bone marrow donation, voting, or matters related to domestic violence or assault.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

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