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Everything Employers Need To Know About Sick Leave

January 9, 2019
Human Resources

For many years employers have looked at sick leave as an added benefit to recruiting and retaining employees. Since 2006, many cities and states have enacted mandatory paid sick leave laws that employers must follow.

Each sick leave law has specific statutes that need to be followed in order to be compliant with the law. If you are in a city or state with mandatory paid sick leave laws, do not ignore them. There have been various lawsuits that employers have lost for failing to follow paid sick leave laws.

What is sick leave?

Am I in a paid sick leave state or city?

How do I calculate sick leave?

I will answer all the questions above, and by the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of paid sick leave law so you can ensure compliance.

Paid sick leave is very straightforward. Typically, sick leave includes:

  • Treatment, recuperation, or preventative care for a medical or mental health condition, illness, or injury of the employee ​or covered family member
  • To seek law enforcement, counseling, or other services for domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking suffered by the employee or covered family member
  • Care for family member during emergency closure of school ​or place of care, including for inclement weather


Each state, city, and county has spent many hours ensuring that information is easy to obtain.

If you are currently in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Michigan (coming soon), New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maryland you have statewide paid sick laws you need to follow.

The following states have specific city/county paid sick laws:

Washington: Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane

California: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Santa Monica, and Berkeley

Texas: Austin (Currently postponed, but good to keep checking if you have employees in Austin)

Minnesota: Minneapolis and St. Paul

Illinois: Chicago and Cook County

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia

New York: New York City

Maryland: Montgomery County

By clicking on the state, city, or county name you will be taken to the appropriate government website, which will have specifics as to what type of sick leave you need to offer.

Some cities like Minneapolis require that each employee earn 1 hour paid sick and safety leave per 30 hours worked in a pay period. Cities like Philadelphia require that each employee earn 1 hour paid sick leave per 40 hours worked in a pay period.

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Hiding sick leave information from your employees can land you in a world of legal trouble, so it is best to learn the law for yourself, and make sure all employees are notified of their rights.  Most of the local state, city, and county websites allow you to print posters with the relevant information for free right from their website.

Various HRIS and payroll software already have sick leave built into their systems, so you do not have to manually update it. If you are not sure if your HRIS or Payroll system can help you administer and track sick leave, just reach out to your contact and they should let you know the best way to ensure compliance for your business.

Tatiana Bashlova

Tatiana is the Junior Vice President at Halon. She has experience in operations, payroll, legal, human resources, and finance in various industries. In her spare time she enjoys reading about new laws, hiking, and fishing. .

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