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Paid sick leave laws by state and recent federal legislation

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, the federal government, along with several states and municipalities are taking emergency legal actions, including making changes to the law. While a new federal law establishes emergency paid sick leave for qualifying employers from April 1 to December 31, 2020, several states have had their own guidelines for years. We’ve put together a guide to the states where such laws have been enacted.

As the news is unfolding rapidly, it is best to talk to a lawyer for the latest advice specific to your situation.


Questions about the coronavirus pandemic?

Visit the Coronavirus Legal Center and ask a lawyer today.


What states currently have paid sick leave laws?

As of March 20, 2020: California, Maryland and Washington state have statewide and local laws regarding paid sick leave. Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont offer statewide laws only. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, New York state has recently enacted a sick leave policy for those affected with coronavirus. Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas only offer sick leave policies in select cities, and also Washington D.C. has its own laws regarding paid sick leave. 

What are the laws in each state?

Arizona

  • Workers earn 1 hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. 
  • Employees begin accruing sick leave on hiring date or July 1, 2017, whichever is later. 
  • Employers with 15 or fewer employees must provide 24 hours of paid sick leave each year and those with more than 15 employees must provide 40 hours yearly.

California

  • Paid sick leave is required for employees who work 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment. 
  • All employees including part-time and temporary employees, earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Law applies to employers of all sizes.
  • Some cities in California, like San Francisco, have their own sick leave requirements.
  • Generally, employers must follow whichever law is more generous to workers.

Connecticut

  • Employers with over 50 employees must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked by an hourly, nonexempt employee up to 40 hours yearly.
  • Connecticut sick leave law applies to part-time workers but not temporary workers.

Illinois

  • Illinois does not have a statewide sick leave policy, but certain cities and counties in the state offer their own policies.
  • In Chicago: 
    • Workers who work 80 hours within a 120 day period are covered by the city ordinance. 
    • Every 40 hours worked earns an hour of paid sick leave. 
    • Salaried employees who are exempt from overtime requirements accrue one hour per week of employment.  

Maine

  • Currently, Maine has no paid sick leave laws until the “Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave” takes effect in 2021. 
  • The Act will require employers to allow employees to take time off for any reason, not limited to sick leave. 

Maryland

  • Employers with 15 or more employees may offer one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked or 40 hours at the start of the year. 
  • Employers with less than 14 employees must provide unpaid sick leave. 
  • This law is not applicable to workers who work less than 12 hours weekly, work in agriculture, or are defined as independent contractors. 
  • Some counties provide their own sick leave policies. 

Massachusetts

  • Employers with more than 10 employees have to provide one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, with a cap of 40 hours. 
  • Employers with less than 10 employees must provide the option for unpaid sick leave. 
  • Under both scenarios, this time can be used if employees are ill, injured, or need time to attend to a condition for themselves or an immediate family member, including a parent. 

Michigan

  • Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked, with a maximum of 40 hours per year. 
  • Employers can provide all 40 hours at the beginning of the year to avoid carry-over.

Nevada

  • Employers with less than 50 employees do not have to provide sick leave. 
  • Employers with more than 50 employees must provide 40 hours of sick leave annually, however, if it is during the company’s first two years of operation they are not required to comply. 

New Jersey

  • Employees, including full- and part-time, earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, capped at 40 hours. 
  • Employers can choose to make all 40 hours available at the beginning of the benefit year. 
  • The state’s sick leave law preempts any municipal laws regarding the topic.

New York

  • Two full weeks of paid sick leave are required for public and private sector workers who are forced into mandatory or cautionary quarantine due to coronavirus. 
  • In New York City:
    • Private sector employees of companies with 5 or more employees should by law earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year. 
    • Private sector employees in smaller companies should by law receive job protection for up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time a year. 
    • Employees begin earning sick time as soon as they are hired, but have to work for 120 days before they are able to use the time.

Oregon

  • Employers with 10 or more employees must provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 40 hours. 
  • Employers with less than 10 employees must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave annually. 

Rhode Island

  • Employers with more than 18 employees must give workers (including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees), paid sick leave.
  • For every 35 hours worked, one hour of leave is accrued. 
  • Employers with less than 18 employees must provide the same amount of leave, but it is unpaid. 

Vermont

  • Employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 52 hours worked, with an accrual cap is 40 hours. 
  • Exempt employees include federal employees, independent contractors, and temporary workers who work under 20 weeks. 

Washington

  • Employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. 
  • This includes part-time and seasonal employees. 
  • If employees do not use all of their accrued hours, employers must carry over balances less than 40 hours. 

Washington D.C. 

  • In Washington D.C., paid sick leave time depends on the size of the employer. However, the law covers full-time and part-time employees. 
  • Employers with more than 100 employees must provide one hour of sick leave for every 37 hours worked, capped at 7 days annually. 
  • Businesses with 25-99 employees must provide one hour of leave for every 43 hours worked, capped at 5 days annually. 
  • Small employers who have less than 25 employees must provide one hour for every 87 hours worked, capped at 3 days annually. 

If you have questions about paid sick leave in your state, ask a lawyer

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