There are several state, city, and county paid leave ordinances that require employers to offer paid benefits for employees who are sick. Within several states, there are potential changes toward paid sick leave that employers should monitor regularly as state and local policies can change from time to time. We provide a summary of laws for each city, county, and state as well as regularly updated resource links.
Managing sick time and PTO can be complicated. A helpful way to keep it all straight is to use timekeeping, payroll, and benefits software to track and detail accrued and used sick time. You can take a more proactive approach to compliance by leaning on software such as Gusto to process your responsibilities under paid leave laws.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
It’s important to note that the COVID-19 virus has changed, at least for the time being, how employers support their employees who are sick with the coronavirus disease or who are caring for a family member with the illness. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, and may be extended beyond that date.
Mandatory Paid Sick Time Laws by State
There is no federal law requiring paid sick leave. Even FMLA, which requires employers of 50 or more to provide medical leave, doesn’t require employers to pay employees while they’re on leave. The states below have therefore implemented their own sick leave laws. Here’s how each manages various aspects of sick leave, from the amount of time required to be paid to the size of the business it applies to. In addition to states, there are some cities and counties that also have specific paid sick time laws. We created a helpful at-a-glance chart for each state to view that information quickly.
Chart of States, Cities, and Counties with Mandatory Paid Sick Time Laws
Arizona Paid Sick Leave Law
Arizona’s sick leave law is new as of 2017. It’s called the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act. The amount of paid sick leave that must be given starts at three days or 24 hours (similar to California). However, once an employer reaches 15 employees, they are required to provide five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave. Part-time employees earn sick leave at the rate of one hour of sick leave earned for every 30 hours worked.
California Paid Sick Leave Law
California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires employers of any size to provide three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave. California requires the sick leave policy to be provided to new hires upon their start date and posted in an employee area such as the break room. California is unique in that it’s best to keep sick time separate from PTO, as sick time doesn’t need to be paid upon termination, but PTO does.
California Cities with Sick Time Laws
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.
Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law
Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave Law requires that employers with 50 or more employees provide paid sick leave of 40 hours or 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.
Illinois Paid Sick Leave Law
Although the state of 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 do 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.
Chicago 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. The ordinance does maintain some exceptions that include but are not limited to certain individuals under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement. These individuals include independent contractors and individuals who are otherwise 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 Paid Sick Leave Law
Maine’s paid leave law is vast in its inner workings, so we recommend you visit the .gov resource provided. For example, intermittent employees, after a certain point, can access paid sick time. After completing 1,040 hours of actual work, intermittent employees begin accruing sick time for every 173 hours of actual work.
Due to the inherent nature of intermittent work, intermittent employees do not have an established accrual date or established hours from which a sick leave accrual rate can be derived. The only limitation to the hours an intermittent employee can work is the total annual authorized hours for the position.
Maryland Paid Sick Leave Law
The state of Maryland does have a paid sick leave law that employers need to follow. However, Montgomery County also has its own paid sick leave law. Employers within Montgomery County need to carefully review the mandate to see if it applies to them.
Montgomery County’s Paid Sick Leave law
Paid parental leave is included in Montgomery County’s Sick and Safe Leave law. This law will allow 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 Paid Sick Leave Law
Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law requires businesses with 11 or more employees to pay 40 hours or five days of sick time to full-time employees. Part-time employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
Michigan Paid Sick Leave Law
Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act went into effect on March 29, 2019. This law applies to employers with 50 or more employees who work at least 25 hours per week. Michigan-based positions that this rule applies to include positions that exist at least 26 weeks per year.
Note that the Q&A on the Michigan Paid Sick Leave Law resources is a great tool that helps you get to the bottom of some of the questions that help align your plans while operating with this particular state.
Minnesota Paid Sick Leave Law
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. Within the state of Minnesota, much of the paid sick leave movement is at the city level.
Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth Paid Sick Leave Laws
Three of Minnesota’s largest cities require covered employers to offer either unpaid or paid sick leave to eligible employees working in their city limits. These cities include:
- Minneapolis (Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance)
- St. Paul (St. Paul Earned Safe and Sick Time Ordinance)
- Duluth (Duluth Earned Sick and Safe Time)
Nevada Paid Sick Leave Law
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 for each employee between his or her 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 Paid Sick Leave Law
New Jersey requires paid leave policies from all employers up to any number of employees. If the employer has one employee, they are required to offer this benefit.
One hour of leave earned for every 30 hours worked. Accessing leave ahead of the accrual schedule is permitted. The annual accrual cap is 40 hours.
New York Paid Sick Leave Law
Within the state of New York, there are additional mandates in this area that employers to be knowledgeable above. Within the City of New York (NYC), employees who have worked within NYC for more than 80 hours in a calendar year are covered under the city’s paid sick time laws.
New York City and Westchester County Paid Sick Leave Laws
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 (or who are considered “city employees”). 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, as described below).
Oregon Paid Sick Leave Law
Oregon, like California, requires sick leave to be provided to employees of all size businesses, according to Senate Bill 454. However, Oregon requires five days or 40 hours of unpaid sick leave to be made available to full-time employees. However, for employers with 10 or more employees, that sick leave time off has to be paid by the employer.
Portland Paid Sick Time Law
If your business is in Portland, paid sick leave applies to employees of businesses with six or more employees. For more on Oregon’s sick leave requirements, read our full article on Oregon Sick Time Laws.
Pennsylvania Paid Sick Leave Law
The state of Pennsylvania does not have a mandated paid sick leave. However, the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh do. There are specific differences from one city to the next, and in fact, it has only been since July 2019 that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld Pittsburgh’s authority to pass the ordinance.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Paid Sick Leave Laws
The city of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act defines a “covered employee” as an individual employed by an employer who performs work within the City of Pittsburgh for at least 35 hours in a calendar year. The leave is for (a) the employee’s physical or mental illness or injury, preventive medical or health care or health condition; (b) the employee’s need to care for a family member’s physical or mental illness, preventative medical or health care, injury or health condition; or (c) the closure of the employee’s place of business, or school or care center attended by the employee’s child, due to a public health emergency.
Philadelphia’s Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance outlines the requirements for Philadelphia based employers. According to this ordinance, all employees who work within the boundaries of the city of Philadelphia for at least 40 hours in a year, are entitled to a minimum level of paid sick days. 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 are excluded in the ordinance.
Employers with 10 or more employees must provide eligible employees up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year, while employers with less than 10 employees must provide unpaid sick time.
Rhode Island Paid Sick Leave Law
Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training explains how The Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act gives Rhode Island employees the right to take time off from work to care for themselves. This act applies when they are too sick to work, are injured, or have a routine medical appointment. As with many other states, employees may also use earned leave to manage the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Also, in line with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements, employees may use earned leave to assist their child, spouse, domestic partner, or other members of their household for the same purposes.
Texas Paid Sick Leave Law
The city of Dallas has joined both Austin and San Antonio in having its paid sick leave ordinance temporarily suspended or blocked as there are claims that these paid sick leave laws violate constitutional rights. During the time of this article’s publishing, all city paid sick leave laws remain on hold until further court proceedings are completed. The Texas Workforce Commission’s website is a good resource to remain current on this matter.
In Dallas, the city has lobbied hard to retain its proposed paid sick leave law; however, the verdict, as with the cities of Austin and San Antonio, has not been arrived at. Now that COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s life in one way or another, these battles in Texas courts over paid sick laws have garnered even more attention and urgency.
Vermont Paid Sick Leave Law
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. At present, the employer must accrue sick time starting on the employee’s first day but can withhold the use of sick time until the employee’s first year anniversary. The requirements are expected to change between 2018 and 2020 as shown on the Vermont Earned Sick Time Poster.
Washington State Paid Sick Leave Law
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, hourly employees and salaried managers who supervise more than two employees, may be exempt, as are professional staff such as doctors, lawyers, and dentists.
Washington State Cities with Paid Sick Time Laws
Washington D.C. Paid Sick Leave Law
The District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) has a very straightforward approach to paid sick leave. An employer with 100 or more employees shall provide for each employee not less than one hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked, not to exceed seven days per calendar year.
An employer with fewer employees, with at least 25, but not more than 99 employees shall provide for each employee not less than one hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked, not to exceed five days per calendar year. All employers with 24 or fewer employees shall provide not less than one hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked, not to exceed three days per calendar year.
Finally, if employees of restaurants, beauty, hair, and nail salons are paid by commission (whether commission only or base wage plus commission), the sick leave rate of pay is calculated differently. Please refer to the Washington D.C.’s paid sick leave ordinance.
How to Manage Joint PTO and Sick Leave
As you work hard to mitigate risk when dealing with PTO and sick leave together, you must do everything possible to ensure no violation of sick leave policy occurs. One smart way of doing this is to keep accurate records of sick leave due to state and city policy.
If you like your present leave policies and do not want to amend your current PTO policy, you can also operate a separate PTO or paid sick leave policy. The purpose of this is to manage, cleanly, and straightforwardly, employees’ mandated paid sick leave. This allows your reporting to the city, county, or state to be accurate and easy to explain.
Any amounts of paid time off beyond what is required within a year, does not, for regulatory purposes, need to be managed on this system. It can then all default into your original PTO policy platform.
FAQs – Paid Leave Laws
Many employers feel confused between Paid Time Off (PTO) and paid sick leave and if policies crossover. We put together some of the most commonly asked questions around paid sick leave and PTO.
If I already provide PTO that can be used when sick, is that enough?
Perhaps your PTO benefit is enough but what matters are the rules within your PTO policy. Can PTO be used when the employee is sick? Is the minimum amount of sick time required in your state provided? There is a risk to your business in commingling PTO and sick time in states where PTO is required to be paid out upon termination. The best practice is to track the balances separately and maintain different policies for each type of leave.
If an employee wants to use sick pay while on FMLA, can they?
Yes, paying employees while they are sick or out on a medical issue is the intent of a paid sick leave policy. In most cases, FMLA provides a longer time frame for employees to be off work and a guarantee that you’ll hold their job open while they’re gone. It doesn’t require paid leave. If employees want to use their sick leave (and/or other paid time off) to help supplement their income while on FMLA, that’s what it’s there for. Here are links to labor laws, including FMLA, for more information.
Do I have to pay a terminated employee their unused paid time off?
In most cases, no. But just to be sure, check with your employment law attorney in your specific state and city to make sure there are no requirements that would require you to pay out unused sick leave. For example, in states like California, if you mingle your sick leave and PTO policies, you may be required to pay out unused balances earned or accrued, as California doesn’t uphold “use it or lose it policies” in general.
Let’s start by saying that offering time off to your employees when they’re sick is good business. This type of benefit helps retain employees, aids in productivity, and sustains engaged employees. However, to ensure that businesses do so, some states, and even cities like San Francisco, Portland, and New York City, have implemented their own paid sick leave laws.
As an employer, it’s up to you to protect your business and avoid fines by complying with these localized labor laws. That said, you have the tools you need to move forward to grow your business while providing safety and time away from the workplace for employees who need it.