Offering sick leave allows your small business employees to take time off from work to attend to personal health issues when needed. But before you implement a sick leave policy at your small business, read this article to learn what sick leave is and how to stay compliant with federal- and state-level sick leave laws.
The term generally refers to a leave of absence that employers grant their employees to deal with health issues faced by an employee or his next of kin. The leave can be paid or unpaid. But in either case, the goal of sick leave is to give employees the benefit of knowing that their jobs will be there when they return. In the case of paid sick leave, employees are additionally provided a measure of economic security since they won't need to forgo pay while they nurse themselves or their kin back to health.
There is currently no legal requirement at the federal level mandating employers to offer paid sick leave. However, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires covered employers to provide unpaid leave for health reasons to eligible employees.
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), employers covered by the FMLA include:
Employees eligible for FMLA leave are those who:
FMLA also allows for substituting paid leave for unpaid leave in many situations.
Depending on the location of your business, the state law surrounding sick leave may be stricter than the federal law. Four states, including Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Oregon have enacted laws requiring paid sick leave for defined employees.
In California, the sick leave law is that employees that have worked for the same employer, on or after January 1, 2015, for at least 30 days within a year and satisfied a 90-day employment period are generally eligible to use a minimum of 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave per year.
Small businesses covered under FMLA should: