Although 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, employees in Colorado accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked (capped at 48 hours in a year), while workers in Washington, D.C., earn anywhere from one hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours worked to one hour for every 87 hours worked (depending on the total number of employees the business has).
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.
Overview of State & Municipality Sick Leave Laws
The following states have statewide or city/county paid sick leave laws—or both. If your state is not listed, it has no state or local laws related to paid sick leave. You can click on the state name in the table for more detailed information.
Arizona’s sick leave law (Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act) requires 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.
You can opt to have the sick leave accrue throughout the year (at the rate of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked) or provide it all in a lump sum after an employee is hired. If you choose to front-load it this way, you can 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 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, regardless of size, to provide paid sick leave to employees. Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a cap of 48 hours per 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 30 hours worked. It also allows employers to provide an employee, at the beginning of the year, with all of the sick leave that the employer expects the employee to accrue.
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 many 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 two weeks and works within Cook County limits. Covered employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. 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 maintaining 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, earning one hour for every 40 hours worked.
Maine’s paid leave law is expansive. For example, intermittent employees (those working irregular or on-call hours less than full time) can access paid sick time after completing 1,040 hours of actual work. 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.
The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave for certain employees. It also requires that employers who employ 14 or fewer employees provide unpaid sick and safe leave for eligible employees.
Employees are entitled to earn sick and safe leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours that an employee works up to a maximum of 40 hours. To comply with the law, employees will be awarded 40 hours of paid/unpaid sick leave at the beginning of each year.
Additionally, Montgomery County has its own paid sick leave law under the Montgomery County Sick and Safe Leave Law. This law requires employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked (up to 56 hours) to individuals who work within the county. To help small businesses, an employer with fewer than five employees would have to provide an employee with up to 32 hours of paid sick and safe leave per year plus an additional 24 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave. Paid parental leave is also 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 provide 40 hours (five days) of paid sick time to full-time employees. Part-time employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees with 11 or fewer employees must provide unpaid sick time.
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, if the employer provides PTO for the illness or injury of the worker, time off for the illness or injury of a family member must also be paid.
Learn more about How to Calculate Vacation Accruals, plus access a free PTO calculator.
LIMITING TIME OFF: If the employee has more than 160 hours of sick leave available during a 12-month period, the employer may limit the employee’s use of the sick leave for the illness or injury of family members other than a minor child to 160 hours.
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 provide paid sick leave. Leave is accrued at one hour 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 provide paid 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 carry-over 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. Even if the employer has only one employee, it must 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.
Effective July 1, 2022, the Healthy Workplaces Act requires employers with as few as one employee to offer paid 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 mandates for sick leave if employees work within New York City or Westchester County.
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 paid sick time laws. Both NYC and Westchester County mandate that for every 30 hours worked, one hour of leave is accrued (for both paid and unpaid sick time). For employers with 100 or more employees the total accrued sick leave per year is equal to 56 hours. Employers with 5-99 employees must provide a total accrued sick leave amount of 40 hours per year.
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 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.
Vermont’s Earned Sick Time Act requires that employers with five or more employees provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to full-time staff members. Sick leave accrues at one hour for every 52 hours worked.
Washington state provides paid 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 provide paid 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.
Several states, cities, and counties with paid sick leave ordinances require employers to offer employees paid time away from work for health and safety reasons. As an employer, it’s up to you to manage your employees, protect your business and avoid fines by complying with these local labor laws.