National Survey of Paid Sick Leave Laws

by admin

Melanie D. Lipomanis

The following is a summary of new paid sick leave laws enacted within the last few years across the United States: 

  • San Francisco: Effective Date Feb. 5, 2007

Under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance employees begin to accrue sick leave ninety calendar days from their date of hire.  All employers are subject to the ordinance for employees who perform work within San Francisco city limits.  All employees accrue paid sick in one hour increments for every thirty hours worked, including temporary and part-time employees and without regard to immigration status.  Accrual of paid sick leave is capped at 40 hours for employees of businesses with fewer than ten employees, and 72 hours for those with ten or more.

  • Washington, D.C.: Effective May 13, 2008

The Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 (“ASSLA”), requires all employers to provide each employee with paid sick and/or safe leave as follows:  employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 1 hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked, not to exceed 7 days of leave per year;  employers with 25 to 99 employees must provide at least 1 hour of paid leave for every 43 hours worked, not to exceed 5 days of leave per year; and employers with 24 or less employees must provide each employee at least 1 hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked, not to exceed 3 days of leave per year.  Paid leave begins to accrue at the start of employment and may be used after 90 days of employment.  Leave may be taken for the following situations: (1) physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee; (2) to obtain a medical diagnosis or preventative care for the employee; (3) situations arising under (1) and/or (2) for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or other family member of the employee; or (4) to obtain social or legal services pertaining to stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse of the employee or employee’s family member.  The law contains an exception (“safe harbor”) that employers with existing paid leave policies will be deemed to be compliant with the new law if the polices permit employees to accrue and use paid leave that are at least equivalent to the leave prescribed in ASSLA.

  • Connecticut: Effective Jan. 1, 2012

Under the Paid Sick Leave Act Employers with 50 or more employees must pay “service workers” one hour for every 40 hours worked provided the service worker has worked an average of 10 or more hours a week for the employer in the most recent complete calendar quarter.  “Service worker” encompasses numerous occupations within various service industries (see the Act for all occupations and categories at http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/SickLeaveLaw.htm).  The Act does not apply to day or temporary workers, non-hourly employees or salaried employees.  Paid leave hours begin to accrue on the employee’s date of hire and may be taken upon completion of the 680th hour of employment.  Accrual is capped at 40 hours in any given year.  Leave may be taken for the illness, injury or health condition, or the medical diagnosis, care or treatment of mental illness or physical illness, injury or health condition, or preventative medical care for a service worker or the service worker’s child or spouse, or where a service worker is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, for medical care or psychological or other counseling for physical or psychological injury or disability, or  to obtain services from a victim services organization, (C) to relocate due to such family violence or sexual assault, or to participate in any civil or criminal proceedings related to or resulting from such family violence or sexual assault.  The Act contains a safe harbor provision.

  • Seattle:      Effective Sept. 1, 2012 

Under Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (“PSST”), requires private sector employers to provide all employees working within Seattle city limits with paid sick and/or safe leave as follows:  businesses with more than 4-49 employees must provide one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, with a carryover and capped use rate of 40 hours taken per calendar year; employers with 50-249 employees must provide one hour for every 40 hours worked, with a carryover and capped use rate of 56 hours per calendar year; employers with 250 or more employees must provide one hour for every 30 hours worked, with a carryover and capped use rate of 72 hours per calendar year.  The ordinance applies to all full-time, part-time, temporary, and occasional-basis employees, and employees who telecommute in Seattle.  Leave may be taken for illness or preventative care for the employee or the employee’s family member, or for matters involving domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or for closure of the employee’s workplace or the school or place of care of the employee’s child by public official to limit exposure to infectious agent, biological toxin or hazardous material. The ordinance contains a safe harbor provision.

  • Portland, Ore.: Effective Jan. 1, 2014 

The Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance requires employers with 6 or more employees to provide one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, and employers with fewer than 5 employees to provide one hour of unpaid leave for every 30 hours worked.  The ordinance applies to all employees who work within the geographic boundaries of the city of Portland for 240 hours or more in a calendar year.   The sick leave may be used for issues related to the employee’s own health, to care for the health of a family member, or to address issues caused by domestic violence, sexual harassment, assault or stalking.  Sick time may be used in increments of one hour or greater. The ordinance contains a safe harbor provision.

  • Jersey City, N.J.: Effective Jan. 24, 2014 

The ordinance requires employers with more than ten employees that operate within Jersey City to provide paid sick leave to all employees employed in Jersey City, regardless of full-time or part-time status. Employees of businesses with less than ten employees also must be permitted to accrue sick leave, but such leave may be unpaid.  In addition, the ordinance provides that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for taking sick leave, reporting a violation of the ordinance or engaging in other activities protected under the ordinance. 

  • New York City: Effective April 1, 2014

New York City employers with five or more employees must provide up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time to employees, which may be used for the employee’s own illness or to care for a sick family member.  The law has a broad definition of “family member.”  For employers with fewer than five employees, the sick leave may be unpaid. 

  • Newark, N.J.: Extended effective date June 21, 2014

All employers regardless of size must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked.  For those businesses that employ nine or fewer employees in Newark may cap accrual of sick leave to 24 hours per year; employers with ten or more employees may cap paid sick leave to 40 hours per year.  The sick leave may be used for issues related to the employee’s own health, to care for the health of a family member.

  • State Paid Sick Leave Preemption Laws

In response to the piecemeal trend in paid sick leave laws, some state legislatures have enacted preemption laws that prohibit local governments from passing paid sick leave legislation, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. Wisconsin enacted legislation in 2011 that bars cities, villages and counties from enacting family and medical leave rules that differ from state standards, which effectively eliminated Milwaukee’s paid sick ordinance.