State and Local Paid Sick Leave Laws
Although momentum for a federal paid sick leave requirement is growing, there are currently only a few states, sometimes limited to specific cities within these states, in which employers are required to provide paid sick leave to qualified individuals. These areas are:
- Emeryville, California
- Oakland, California
- San Francisco, California
- Portland, Oregon
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey cities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Patterson, and Trenton
- Jersey City, New Jersey
- Seattle, Washington
- Tacoma, Washington
- New York, New York
- Montgomery County, Maryland
In California, a state law mandating paid sick leave fully went into effect on July 1, 2015. This new law provides employees who work in California for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment with paid sick leave. Employees, including part-time and temporary employees, will earn at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. An employer may limit the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in one year to 24 hours or three days. Accrued paid sick leave may be carried over to the next year, but it may be capped at 48 hours or six days. However, this law will not apply to employees covered by qualifying collective bargaining agreements, In-Home Supportive Services providers, and certain employees of air carriers.
Effective July 1, 2015, Emeryville’s city ordinance requires paid sick leave for most employees working within the city limits. Employees of small businesses (55 or fewer employees) may accrue 48 hours of paid sick leave a year, and employees of large businesses (56 or more employees) may accrue up to 72 hours a year. Employees may use the paid sick leave to care for their own illness or condition, a family member’s illness or condition, or their designated individual. Additionally, the employee can use this leave to care for a service dog.
Oakland employees accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every hours worked. Small businesses (fewer than ten employees) may cap accrued sick leave at forty hours, and all other businesses may cap accrued sick leave at seventy-two hours. Employees may use their leave to care for themselves or an immediate or extended family member. Additionally, employees who do not have a spouse or registered domestic partner are given a ten day designation period after accruing the first hour of sick leave in order to designate an individual they would like to be covered under this policy.
Under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, employers must provide paid sick leave to every employee who performs work either full or part-time in San Francisco. Paid sick time begins to accrue 90 days after the employee’s first day of work. Employees earn 1 hours of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Sick leave is calculated in hour-unit increments, not in fractions of an hour. For employers with less than 10 employees, the required paid sick leave is capped at 40 hours. For employers with 10 or more employees, paid sick leave is capped at 72 hours. Sick leave time earned does not expire and carries over to the next year. However, an employee can use as many sick leave hours in one year as they wish, so long as they have not reached the total cap. Sick leave can be taken for illness, injury or to seek medical treatment or diagnosis for the employee, a family member or other designated person. If the employee does not have a spouse or registered domestic partner, they may designated one person. An employee may change the designated person once per year within 10 days from when sick leave begins to accrue.
In Connecticut, employers who employ 50 or more people in any one quarter of the previous year must provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked by a service worker up to 40 hours per year. Part-time employees are covered by this law. The sick leave only accrues with actual hours worked (sick or other leave and vacation time are not included). Employees can carry over up to 40 unused accrued sick leave hours to the next year, but no employee can use more than 40 hours in any calendar year. Non-profit and certain other employers are except from this law. For a list of exempt employers and list of all individuals who are considered service workers go to the Connecticut Department of Labor.
Effective July 15, 2015, Massachusetts employers with more than 10 employees must provide 1 hour of guaranteed sick leave for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours per year. Employees can use this time if they are ill, injured, or need to attend to a medical condition for themselves, a spouse, a child, or a parent. Employers with 10 or fewer employees are not required to provide paid sick leave, but they must provide unpaid sick leave under the same circumstances.
In Oregon, a state law mandating paid sick leave will go into effect on January 1, 2016. This new law will require most employers with 10 employees or more to provide employees with 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours a year. It will also require employers with fewer than 10 employees to provide up to 40 hours a year of unpaid sick leave. Employees can use this time if they are ill, injured, or need to attend to a medical condition for themselves, or a family member (as defined by OFLA- the Oregon Family Leave Act); for any purposes allowed under OFLA; for any purpose under the Oregon domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking law; or in the event of a public health emergency or event where the employer excludes the employee from the workplace for health reasons.
In Portland, an employer must provide full-time, part-time and temporary employees to accrue 1 hour of protected sick time for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours per week. For employers with more than 5 employees, this sick time must be paid. For employers with 5 or fewer employees, the sick time must accrue but does not have to be paid. Sick time can be used to cover all or part of a shift. It can be used for to care for health issues of the employer or a family member or domestic and sexual violence issues for the employee or their family members.
In. D.C., certain employees qualify for paid sick leave. To qualify, the employee must have worked for the employer for 1 year without a break in service, not including regular holiday, sick or personal leave granted by the employer, and has worked at least 1000 hours immediately preceding the requested sick leave. This law specifically excludes independent contractors, students, health care workers participating in a premium pay program, and wait staff and bartenders who work for a combination of wages and tips. Employers with 100 or more employees must provide eligible employees 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours worked, not to exceed 7 days per year. Employers with 25-99 employees must give employees 1 hour paid sick leave for every 43 hours worked, not to exceed 5 days a year. Employees with less than 25 employees must provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 87 hours worked, not to exceed 3 days per year. The sick leave can be used for physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition, or to obtain medical diagnosis or preventative care for the employee, their child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or other family member. This can also be used for services related to stalking, domestic violence or sexual abuse for any of those individuals. Under this law, a family member includes parents, parents-in-law, foster and grandchildren, children’s spouses, siblings, siblings’ spouses and any person who has shared a residence and committed relationship with the employee for the preceding 12 months or more.
On,February 3, 2016, the Vermont Senate passed a bill requiring most employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. After consolidating this version of the bill with a similar version passed by the House, Vermont Governor Shumlin signed the legislation into law on March 9th, 2016, making Vermont the fifth state to implement a paid sick leave law. Employees (who work for employers who employ five or more people) will accrue one hour of paid time off for every 52 hours worked. Additionally, the bill provides a compliance grace period for new businesses. Employers may limit accrual of sick days, but must allow accrual up to at least three paid sick days per year in the first two years, and five paid sick days per year after that. In addition to a small business exception, the paid sick leave requirement will not apply to federal employees, employees under 18, temporary workers scheduled to work up to 20 weeks, and certain state, school, and healthcare employees. For a more detailed description of these exceptions see § 481(5) of the bill. The full text of the bill can be found at the Vermont legislature website.
New Jersey cities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Patterson, and Trenton
All private sector workers employed in these cities are entitled to paid sick leave. Those employees who are covered by law will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of 1 hour per every 30 hours worked. Generally, employers with fewer than 10 employees may cap accrued sick leave at 24 hours per year, and employers with 10 or more employees may cap accrued sick leave at 40 hours per year. However, child care workers, home health care workers, and food service workers can only be capped at 40 hours per year regardless of their employer’s size. Covered employees may use their accrued leave for their own illness or condition, for a family member’s, or in the case of a public health emergency.
In Jersey City, private sector employees who work for employers with more than 10 employees earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours per year. Employers with less than 10 employees are not required to provide paid sick leave, but must allow employees to earn 1 hour of unpaid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours a year. The right to sick leave is not effected by whether an employer works full or part-time. However, this law does not affect collective bargaining agreements.
In Seattle, all employers with more than 4 full-time equivalent employees must provide full-time, part-time, and temporary workers with paid sick leave. The paid sick leave can be used to deal with illness, injury or health condition of the employee, or a family member (including domestic partners), when their place of business has been closed for public health reasons or for reasons related to domestic or sexual violence or stalking. Employees with more than 4 but less than 50 employees must provide 1 hour paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, not to exceed 40 hours per year. Up to 40 hours of paid sick leave can be carried over to the next calendar year. Employers with 50-249 employees must provide 1 hour paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, not to exceed 56 hours per year. Up to 56 hours of paid sick leave can be carried over to the next calendar year. Employers with 250 or more employees must provide 1 hour paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, not to exceed 72 hours per year. Up to 72 hours of paid sick leave can be carried over to the next calendar year.
Employees in Tacoma, Washington accrue paid sick leave at a rate of 1 hour per every 40 hours worked. Up to a total of 24 hours of paid sick leave may be accrued in a calendar year. The ordinance allows employees to carry over up to 24 hours of unused sick leave to the next calendar year, and may use a combined total of up to 40 hours in subsequent years. Employees can use paid sick leave to care for an illness (either the employee’s or a family member’s), when their place of employment has been closed by order of a public official or to care for a child whose school has been closed by order of a public official, to seek law enforcement or legal help for domestic violence or sexual assault (either for the employee or a family member), to seek safety from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, or for the bereavement of a family member.
Effective April 1, 2014, New York City employers with 5 or more employers must provide employees paid sick leave. New York City’s sick leave law was recently expanded to include siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, children and parents of the employee.
Effective September 11, 2017, New York first responders and other state employees who developed health conditions after working at the World Trade Center site following 9/11 terror attacks are entitled to unlimited sick leave at 100% of their regular salary.
In Montgomery County, Maryland, employers will have to provide employees with paid sick and safe leave beginning October 1, 2016. Employees will accrue leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, subject to caps. For employers with five or more employees may earn 56 hours per year of paid sick and safe leave, and may not use more than 80 hours of earned leave a year. For employers with fewer than five employees, employees may accrue up to 32 hours of paid leave and 24 hours of unpaid leave, and may not use more than 80 hours of earned leave a year. Sick and safe leave may be used by employees to treat their own, or a covered individual’s, physical or mental illness, injury, or condition; to obtain preventative medical care for themselves or a covered individual; in the case of a public health emergency that closes the employer’s place of business or an employee’s child’s school or child care center; to Care for a covered individual when a healthcare provider has determined that the family member’s presence in the community would endanger the public; or in order to temporarily relocate the employee/covered individual or to obtain legal or medical services in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
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