Paid Sick Leave: Which States Require It?

by | Apr 6, 2016 | Blog |

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Paid Sick Leave: Which States Require It?

Paid sick leave is mandatory in a number of locations across the U.S., and the trend continues to spread as more lawmakers consider the merits of this popular legislation.

Paid Sick Leave Laws by State, City, and County

Five states, one county, and more than 20 cities have now passed paid sick leave laws. Here’s a snapshot of the jurisdictions that currently require employers to offer paid sick leave (or soon will)*:

States: Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont

Cities: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Tacoma, Emeryville (California), Santa Monica, Spokane, SeaTac (Washington), Los Angeles, Long Beach, and several cities in New Jersey (Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Montclair, Trenton, Bloomfield, Elizabeth, and New Brunswick)

Districts and Counties: Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County (Maryland)

The Challenge for Employers

As more state and local jurisdictions pass paid sick leave laws, employers must constantly reevaluate their paid time-off policies to make sure they’re fully compliant in each location where they have employees. If your organization spans multiple states, staying current becomes even more challenging as new laws are passed.

And it’s not just emerging legislation that you have to keep up with. Some sick leave laws have actually been repealed since this trend started. For example, the state of Oregon’s sick leave laws went into effect on January 1, 2016. At the same time, the pre-existing paid sick leave law in the city of Eugene, Oregon was repealed. Similarly, the city of Portland, Oregon had a paid sick leave ordinance that was preempted by the state law that went into effect at the beginning of this year. In another example of ‘here-today, gone-tomorrow’ regulations, Pittsburgh’s sick leave law was recently ruled invalid and unenforceable.

Sick Leave Laws: Not One-Size-Fits-All

In addition to the sheer number of sick leave laws increasing, the rules vary by location. For example, existing sick leave laws in Connecticut, SeaTac, Washington, as well as Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, pertain only to certain types of workers. So employers in those jurisdictions either need to establish different time-off banks for different employee groups, or they need to offer the mandatory sick leave allotments to all employees in order to avoid noncompliance.

Leave rules aren’t the same from location to location, either. For instance, some jurisdictions clearly place a cap on how much sick leave can accrue in a year or be carried over into the next year, while others may not clearly set limits on these conditions.

Tips for Employers

The ever-changing regulatory landscape leaves many HR departments scrambling to keep up. Yet it can be difficult to know which sources to trust. At WorkForce Software, we offer customers access to a unique Compliance Portal, packed with accurate, up-to-date legal information powered by Wolters Kluwer. Contact us today or request a personalized demonstration to learn how we can help your organization stay current and demonstrate compliance with the sick leave laws impacting your workforce.

*As of March 24, 2016

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About Paul Kramer

Paul Kramer has been the Director of Compliance at WorkForce Software for seven years. Before joining WorkForce, he was a private attorney specializing in employment law for more than two decades, and represented employers nationally on federal and state employment law issues.

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