Many states and localities have mandated sick and/or safe leave laws which require employers to provide PTO that can be used for a variety of qualifying situations, including caring for sick family members. These laws have specific accrual and carryover requirements, and most mandate that covered employees accrue PTO hours based on the number of hours worked.
Many jurisdictions also allow employers to comply with these requirements by front-loading the amount of PTO that a covered employee could accrue under the law. When you create a time-off policy in the Justworks system, you can choose either method!
Structuring Sick and Safe Leave Policies
Combined PTO Policies
You can often comply with state or local paid sick and/or safe leave requirements through a combined or general purpose PTO or vacation benefit (i.e. PTO that can be used for any purpose), so long as:
- the benefit is at least as generous as that required by law
- the PTO may be used for the sick and/or safe leave purposes identified by the law, and
- all other administrative requirements (such as notice and process requirements) are met.
Creating an all-in-one PTO policy may be a good approach if you already plan to provide a generous vacation or PTO benefit to all employees. If you opt for this approach, make sure your policy abides by all applicable rules as they relate to paid sick and/or safe leave laws.
Separate Sick and Safe Leave Policies
Alternatively, you may wish to maintain a sick and/or safe leave policy that is separate from your vacation policy, tailored to the requirements of the particular jurisdictions in which you operate. A standalone sick and/or safe leave policy that complies with all applicable laws would generally allow for greater flexibility for an employer’s other PTO policies. This may be a better approach for employers who prefer to keep sick and/or safe leave separate from other PTO benefits.
Disability and Sick Leave
Typically, an employee eligible for disability benefits would, after filing a claim and receiving approval, start receiving partial pay replacement benefits after 7 calendar days of their inability to work. This means their first week out of work will go unpaid by the disability carrier. It is common for employees to request or employers to require the use of sick leave to cover this first week of their medical leave of absence.
State and Local Sick Leave Laws
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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.