Provide Sick Leave

Do I Have to Provide Sick Leave?

This article was last edited on 11/26/2019. If you have questions about sick leave requirements in your city or state, we recommend speaking with an employment attorney.

Nobody likes being sick, especially if it means choosing between taking care of your health and earning a paycheck. Sick leave can prevent your team from having to make that difficult decision. With sick leave, your staff gets time off for health-related issues, like being ill, going to the doctor, or caring for a sick family member. This time off can either be paid or unpaid.

There is currently no federal law requiring you to provide paid sick leave to your workforce. But, you may be mandated to provide unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If you have employees in any of the following states, you have to provide sick leave for your team:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Connecticut
  4. Maryland
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Michigan
  7. New Jersey
  8. Oregon
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Vermont
  11. Washington

Read also: A Beginner’s Guide to FMLA Leave

Arizona

You must provide your staff with paidsick leave in the following increments:

  • If you have 14 or fewer employees, you must provide at least one hour per every 30 hours worked, up to 24 hours annually.
  • If you have 15 or more team members, you must provide at least one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours annually.

Your staff will start accruing their leave when they start working for you, but you can choose to make them wait 90 days before allowing them to use their accrued time off.

They can use the leave for

  • medical care for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • a family member’s medical care for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • a public health emergency that affects themselves or a family member
  • an absence related to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking that involves themselves or a family

You can request documentation if the employee misses three or more consecutive workdays. The documentation could be a doctor’s note, police report, a letter from their attorney, or simply a statement from the worker that they needed time off.

California

You must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to three days each year. This mandate applies to any employee who works in California for at least 30 days in a year. Workers will begin accruing sick time on their first day of work and can start using it on their 90th day of work.

Your team members can carry 48 hours of unused time to the next year. However, if you have a  paid sick leave or paid time off (PTO) policy that provides your staff with at least 24 hours of leave and you give them that full amount at the beginning of the year, you do not have to let your workers carry over their unused time.

You do nothave to provide paid sick leave to

  • in-home supportive services workers
  • certain airline cabin crew members and aviation employees
  • construction industry workers and other people covered by a collective bargaining agreement ifthey are paid at least 30% more than California’s minimum wage

Read also: What’s Minimum Wage in My State?

Your team can use their sick time for themselves or a family member for

  • the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition
  • preventative care
  • certain reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking

Connecticut

If you have 50 or more employees, you’ll need to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours a year. You do not have to provide time off to team members who did not work an average of 10 or more hours per week in the most recent calendar quarter.

A worker will begin accruing their sick time on their hire date and can begin using it after working 680 hours (if the employee works 40 hours a week, that’s 17 weeks). Workers can carry over 40 hours of unused time each year.

Your workforce can use their sick time for

  • an illness, injury, or health condition
  • the medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • preventative medical care
  • a child or spouse’s illness, injury, or health condition
  • the medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition for a spouse or child
  • a spouse or child’s preventative medical care

If your employee or their family member is a victim of family violence or sexual assault, they can also use their sick leave

  • for medical care, psychological care, or other counseling for a physical or mental injury or disability
  • to receive services from a victim services organization
  • to relocate
  • to participate in any civil or criminal proceedings

You can require documentation from your workers if they are absent for three or more consecutive workdays. This can be a statement indicating the person’s need to miss work signed by a healthcare provider, service worker, victim services organization volunteer, attorney, police officer, or other counselor.

Maryland

You’re required to give your team members at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a year. Your staff is also not entitled to accrue more than 64 hours of leave at any time.

  • If you have 15 or more employees, then this must be paidsick leave.
  • If you have 14 or fewer workers, it can be unpaid sick leave.

A team member can use their sick leave

  • to care for or treat a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition
  • to receive preventative medical care for themselves or a family member
  • for the care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or condition
  • for maternity or paternity leave
  • because of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against themselves or a family member, if the leave is used
    • to receive medical or mental health attention
    • to obtain services from a victim services organization
    • for legal services or proceedings
    • because the employee is temporarily relocating

Massachusetts

You must provide your personnel with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.

  • If you have 11 or more employees, then this must be paidsick leave.
  • If you have fewer than 11 team members, this time off can be unpaid.

Your staff can use the leave for themselves or a family member for

  • an illness or injury
  • a routine medical appointment
  • to deal with domestic violence

You can ask for a doctor’s note or other documentation, but only if the person misses more than three consecutive days of work. You also cannot ask for any specifics about the employee’s illness or domestic violence. You can also request your personnel fill out a form verifying that they used their sick leave for an authorized reason.

Michigan

If you have 50 or more workers, you must provide at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked, up to 40 hours each year. You may require that your staff wait until their 90th calendar day of work before they can begin using their accrued time off.

Team members may use their sick leave for themselves or a family member for the following reasons:

  • physical or mental illness, injury, or health condition
  • medical diagnosis, care, or treatment
  • preventative care
  • closure of the worker’s primary workplace due to a public health emergency
  • care of their child whose school or place of care is closed due to a public health emergency
  • exposure to an infectious disease that would endanger others’ health
  • in domestic violence and sexual assault situations for
    • medical or psychological care or counseling
    • receiving services from a victim services organization
    • relocation
    • obtaining legal services
    • participation in civil or criminal proceedings

You can require documentation if someone misses three consecutive workdays.

New Jersey

You must give your staff at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours each year. You also must keep written records of how many hours each team member worked and how much sick time they earned at used for at least five years.

Your staff can use their sick leave

  • for a mental or physical illness or injury
  • to care for a family member
  • to address domestic or sexual violence
  • when their child’s school or childcare facility is closed because of an epidemic or public health emergency
  • for a school-related meeting or event for your child

If an employee misses three or more consecutive days of work, you can ask for reasonabledocumentation.

Oregon

You must give your employees at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked or 1-1/3 hours for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per each.

  • If you have 10 or more team members, then this must be paidsick time.
  • If you have fewer than 10 workers, this can be unpaid time off.

Your staff will begin accruing sick time on their hire date and can start using it on the 91st calendardate of their employment. They are entitled to carry over 40 hours of unused time each year.

Your personnel can use their sick leave

  • for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • to obtain a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment
  • for preventative care
  • for a family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • to receive a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for a family member
  • for a family member’s preventative care
  • to care for an infant
  • to care for a newly adopted child or recently placed foster child
  • to recover from or seek treatment for a health condition that renders them unable to perform at least one of their primary job functions
  • for absences related to the death of a family member, such as
    • attending a funeral or alternative funeral,
    • making funeral arrangements
    • to grieve
  • for absences related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking, such as to
    • seek legal or law enforcement assistance
    • ensure the health and safety of themselves or a child
    • seek medical treatment
    • recover from injuries
    • receive counseling
    • obtain services from a victim services provider
    • relocate or take steps to secure their existing home
  • for a public health emergency, if
    • your business closes
    • their child’s school or childcare facility closes,
    • a lawful public health authority determines that the presence of the worker or their family members in the community would jeopardize others’ health
    • you must exclude the person from the workplace for health-related reasons
  • to donate accrued sick time to a coworker, if the coworker plans to use the time for an authorized purpose, and if your policy allows employees to share sick leave

You can require your staff to provide medical verification if they

  • take three or more consecutive days
  • know they will need to take three or more consecutive days off
  • start sick time without any notice
  • if you have enough evidence to suspect that the person is abusing the sick leave policy (for example, if they are exhibiting a pattern of absenteeism)

Rhode Island

You must provide your employees with at least one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.

  • If you have 18 or more team members, it must be paidsick leave.
  • If you have fewer than 18 workers, it does not have to be paid.

This time off can be used at the employee’s discretion, but it cannot be used as an excuse for being late to work. Furthermore, you can require documentation if someone misses three consecutive workdays.

Read also: The Best & Worst Excuses for Missing Work

Vermont

You must give workers at least one hour of earned sick time for every 52 hours worked, up to 40 hours each year. Your employees will start accruing time on their first day of work. You can choose to require a waiting period of up to one year before someone can begin using their leave.

A team member can use sick leave

  • for a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition that requires professional medical diagnosis or care or preventative medical care
  • to care for a family member who is suffering from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition that requires professional medical diagnosis or care or preventative medical care
  • to care for a sick or injured family member, including helping them obtain diagnostic, routine, or therapeutic health treatment or accompanying them to an appointment related to long-term care
  • to arrange for social or legal services or to get medical care or counseling for themselves or a family member who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • to relocate due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • to care for a family member because their school, childcare facility, or business where they usually spend the workday is closed due to public health reasons

You should encourage your staff to notify you that they will be using sick time as soon as practicable, and you can require that they provide proof that they’re using it for an allowed reason.

Washington

You must give your employees at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. They begin accruing time off as soon as they start working for you and can start using it after 90 calendar days. Your staff can carry over 40 hours of unused time each year.

Your personnel can use their sick leave

  • for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • for the medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • to treat a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • to get preventative medical care
  • to care for a family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • to care for a family member who needs the medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • to help a family member get treatment for a medical or physical illness, injury, or health condition
  • for the care of a family member who needs preventative medical care
  • when your place of business is closed because of a health-related reason, by order of a public official
  • when their child’s school or childcare facility is closed for a health-related reason, by order of a public official
  • for an absence that qualified under Washington’s Domestic Violence Leave Act (DVLA)

With Workful, you can easily create an implement a paid sick leave policy. Start your free trial of Workful today!