Under Rhode Island’s Sick and Safe Leave law most employees who perform work primarily in Rhode Island for private and nonprofit employers are entitled to accrue paid time off that can be used for the sick and safe purposes described by the law. Employers must either:
- Allow employees to accrue at least one (1) hour of paid sick leave per thirty five (35) hours worked, or;
- Grant the maximum accrual hours up front.
Employers are not required to permit employees to accrue or use more than 32 hours of earned sick time in 2019 and 40 hours, starting in 2020, for any “benefit year” — a designated period of 12 consecutive months. Employers must allow carryover, but are not required to allow the carry-over of more than 40 hours of earned sick time from one benefit year to the next.
Notice of Employee Rights
Employers need to display the Notice of Employee Rights in a location visible to all their employees in Rhode Island, and
- give a copy of the notice to each worker, or
- include the employer's sick time policy in any handbook or manual.
Uses of Paid Sick Leave
Workers may use earned sick time to care for themselves when they are too sick to work, are injured, or have a routine medical appointment. They may also use earned leave to deal with the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. In addition, they may use earned leave to assist their child, spouse, domestic partner or other member of their household for the same purposes.
Limitations on Paid Sick Leave
Permissible waiting periods to use earned leave are 90 days for new employees, 180 days for temporary employees, and 150 days for seasonal employees.
Excluding very limited circumstances, employers cannot ask the reason for expending leave and are required by law to maintain employee confidentiality.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.