This article is part of a larger series on Time & Attendance.
Paid sick leave helps businesses retain and engage employees and aids in productivity. While there are no federal laws requiring that employers provide paid sick leave, some individual states (as well as cities and counties) have created their own regulations. For instance, San Francisco, Portland, and New York City require the accrual of sick leave.
State-by-State Paid Sick Leave Chart
The only federal laws regarding sick leave are those of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires employers of 50 or more to provide unpaid medical leave for up to 12 weeks under certain situations such as severe illness or the birth of a child.
Additional Sick Leave Laws by State
The following states have additional requirements, over and above the federal requirements of sick leave.
Arizona’s sick leave law (Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act) states that the amount of paid sick leave that must be given starts at three days (24 hours) per year (similar to California). However, once an employer reaches 15 employees, it is required to provide five days (40 hours) of paid sick leave per year. Part-time employees earn sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
You can opt to have the sick leave accrue throughout the year or pay it all in a lump sum after an employee is hired. If you choose to front-load it this way, you can opt to pay out any remaining hours they have (up to the maximum accrual amounts) each year or implement a use-it-or-lose-it policy.
California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires employers of any size to provide three days (24 hours) of paid sick leave. Additionally, a company’s sick leave policy must be provided to new hires upon their start date and posted in an employee area, such as the breakroom. It is best to keep sick time separate from PTO as sick time doesn’t need to be paid upon termination, but PTO does.
Many of the cities in larger urban areas such as Berkeley, Emeryville, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and San Diego also have mandated sick leave ordinances. Some are more generous to the employee than what’s provided by the state. Read our article on California Sick Time Laws for more city-specific information.
Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act requires employers with at least 16 employees to provide paid sick leave. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all employers, regardless of size must provide paid sick leave to employees. Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked with a cap of 48 hours in a year. Sick leave accrues immediately and can be used as soon as it is accrued.
Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Law requires that employers with 50 or more employees provide paid sick leave of 40 hours (five days) to full-time employees. Part-time employees receive prorated sick leave at the rate of one hour earned for every 40 hours worked.
Although Illinois does not have a specifically outlined paid sick time law in place, the city of Chicago and Cook County, where Chicago is located, both have paid sick time leave laws. While a large number of municipalities have opted out of Cook County’s paid sick leave law ordinance, the city of Chicago has not. Thus, Chicago employers are generally subject to both Chicago’s and Cook County’s paid sick leave laws.
Within Cook County, the ordinance covers any employee who works for a minimum of two hours in a two-week period, and who works within Cook County limits. An exception to the ordinance states that certain individuals under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement are exempt. These individuals include independent contractors and workers covered under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.
Any employer who maintains a business facility within the City of Chicago is required to provide its employees with paid sick leave. All employees who work a minimum of 80 hours within any 120-day period are eligible for the required paid sick leave.
Maine’s paid leave law is expansive. For example, intermittent employees (those working irregular or on-call hours less than full-time), after completing 1,040 hours of actual work, can access paid sick time. Additionally, the maximum amount of accrued sick leave for any employee is 120 days (960 hours) after which time the leave lapses. The lapsed leave amounts must be recorded for each employee as employees can request the restoration of lapsed sick time in the event of an extended illness.
Paid parental leave is included in the Sick and Safe Leave Law. This law allows the use of paid leave for the birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law requires businesses with 11 or more employees to pay 40 hours (five days) of sick time to full-time employees. Part-time employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act requires all employers with 50 or more employees who work at least 25 hours per week to provide paid leave at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours worked.
While many Minnesota-based employers currently offer paid sick leave in the form of Paid Time Off (PTO), Minnesota state law does not require employers to offer paid or unpaid leave. However, three of Minnesota’s largest cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth) require covered employers to offer either unpaid or paid sick leave to eligible employees working within their city limits.
The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time ordinance requires employers with six or more employees to provide paid sick and safe time. Employers with five or fewer employees must also provide the sick and safe time; however, they can provide it as unpaid leave.
St. Paul Earned Safe and Sick Time (ESST) ordinance states that employers must pay sick leave. Leave is accrued at one hour of sick leave per 40 hours worked and starts on the first day worked. Employees can accrue up to 48 hours per year and any unused sick leave must be rolled over to the next year.
The Duluth Earned Sick And Safe Time ordinance states that employers must pay for sick and safe time. After 90 days of employment, an employee may use up to 40 hours of sick leave per year.
The state of Nevada’s paid sick leave covers all industries within the state, including casinos and hotels. An employee is entitled to at least 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour of work. Unlike some states, paid leave accrued may carry-over between employees’ benefit years of employment.
Although this carryover is nice for employees, employers may limit the amount of paid leave for each employee carried over to a maximum of 40 hours per benefit year.
New Jersey requires paid leave policies from all employers, regardless of the number of employees. If the employer has one employee, it is required to offer this benefit. Employees accrue sick leave at one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. Accessing leave ahead of the accrual schedule is also permitted. The annual accrual cap is 40 hours.
Beginning July 1, 2022, the Healthy Workplaces Act states that employers with as few as one employee must pay for sick leave. Employees will earn one hour for every 30 hours worked and can use up to 64 hours in a 12-month period.
Within the state of New York, there are additional mandates for paid sick leave if employees work within the city limits of New York City or Westchester County.
New York City
Within the city limits of New York City (NYC), employees who have worked for more than 80 hours in a calendar year are covered under the city’s paid sick time laws. Both NYC and Westchester County mandates that for every 30 hours worked, one hour of paid leave is accrued (for both paid and unpaid sick time).
Employees who work within Westchester County for more than 80 hours in a calendar year are covered. Domestic workers are also covered, as are employees of Westchester County who are considered “city employees.”
Oregon, like California and New Jersey, requires sick leave to be provided to employees of all size businesses, according to Senate Bill 454. Oregon requires five days (40 hours) of unpaid sick leave to be made available to all full-time employees. For employers with 10 or more employees, that sick leave time off has to be paid by the employer. Check out our Oregon Sick Leave guide for more detail.
If your business is in Portland, paid sick leave applies to employees of businesses with six or more employees.
The state of Pennsylvania does not have a mandated paid sick leave. However, the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh do.
Philadelphia’s Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance outlines that all employees who work within the boundaries of the city of Philadelphia for at least 40 hours in a calendar year are entitled to a minimum level of paid sick days. Employers with 10 or more employees must provide eligible employees up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year, while employers with fewer than 10 employees must provide unpaid sick time.
Exempt from this law are independent contractors, seasonal workers, adjunct professors, employees hired for a term of fewer than six months, interns, pool employees, state and federal employees, and employees covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.
The city of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act states that an individual employed by an employer who performs work within the City of Pittsburgh is eligible for at least 35 hours of paid sick leave within a calendar year.
Rhode Island’s Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act requires employers with 18 or more employees to pay sick leave. Employers with 17 or fewer employees are required to provide sick leave, but it may be unpaid. Workers earn one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked.
The state of Texas does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave.
Of special note, in 2019 the city of Dallas put into effect the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requiring employers with six or more employees in the city to pay sick leave. However, on March 31, 2021, the U.S. District Court deemed that ordinance to be in violation of the Texas Constitution and therefore unenforceable.
Vermont’s Earned Sick Time Act requires that employers with five or more employees provide up to 24 hours of sick leave to full-time staff members. Sick leave accrues at one hour for every 52 hours worked.
Washington state provides sick leave in the form of Sick and Safe Time Leave to be accrued at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. However, it’s geared toward hourly employees, and salaried managers who supervise more than two employees may be exempt, as are professional staff such as doctors, lawyers, and dentists.
Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance requires employers to pay sick leave to all employees regardless of company size. Employees accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employees working for an employer with over 250 employees accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
Employees in the city of Tacoma are eligible for paid sick leave after 90 days of employment. Workers accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked, with no cap on the number of hours that can be accrued.
The District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) has a very straightforward approach to paid sick leave.
- Workers at businesses with 100 or more employees earn one hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked, not to exceed seven days per calendar year.
- Workers at businesses with at least 25, but not more than 99 employees, earn one hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked, not to exceed five days per calendar year.
- Workers at businesses that employ 24 or fewer employees earn one hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked, not to exceed three days per calendar year.
COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is a statute that originally required certain employers (those with fewer than 500 employees) to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for issues related to COVID-19. Those provisions applied to every state, no matter their policy on paid sick leave, and included:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave (at the employee’s full pay rate) for the following reasons:
- Positive COVID-19 test
- Quarantine due to exposure
- Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Need to care for a family member as a direct result of COVID-19
- Additional 10 weeks (at three-fourths the employee’s rate of pay) of paid expanded family and medical leave for the following reasons:
- Unable to work in order to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed for reasons related to COVID-19
In 2020, this statute was mandatory; however, as of Jan. 1, 2021, it became optional. This means employers have the option to provide leave for employees who cannot work due to COVID-19. If employers decide to provide this paid leave they are eligible for tax credits for the paid leave costs. These provisions were originally set to end on Dec. 31, 2020, but have been recently extended to Sept. 30, 2021.
There are several state, city, and county paid leave ordinances that require employers to offer paid benefits for employees who need time away from work for health and safety reasons. As an employer, it’s up to you to protect your business and avoid fines by complying with these localized labor laws.