Are You Being Treated Fairly? Sick Leave Laws by State
Many people are unaware of their rights when it comes to sick leave. Here is an outline of state laws for New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida.
New York Sick Leave Law
Sick leave is owed to any employees who work at least 80 hours in a year with sick leave based on their hours regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, or temporary. If the employer has one to four employees unpaid leave can be accrued, while those in companies with five or more must accrue paid leave.
All employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked effective as soon they begin working. However, employers can withhold usage of time accrued for 120 days following the first day of work. Yearly usage is capped at 40 hours. The employer can either choose to pay out accrued unused sick leave up to 40 hours at the end of the calendar year or allow employees to carry it over from year to year. It is not paid out when an employee leaves an employer.
Sick leave can be used in increments as little as four hours and employees are not expected to replace themselves when sick. Sick leave is paid at the same rate as the employee’s pay. Workers are also not required to make up sick time.
Sick leave can be used for:
- Mental or physical illness, injury or health conditions, need for medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition or need for preventive health care
- In the case of a public health emergency that shuts down the workplace, employee’s children’s school or place of care
- Elective surgery, including organ donation
Sick leave can be applied for the employee or their family members, including an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, siblings (including half, step, and adopted), grandparent, grandchild, or child or parent of an employee’s spouse or domestic partner.
Employers have the right to ask for up to seven days’ notice if an employee knows they will require leave. Employers must provide written sick leave policies and laws at the time of hiring.
A note can be requested from a licensed healthcare provider when an employee misses more than three consecutive days of work which must be presented within seven days of when the employee comes back to work as long as it is part of the known policy.
Employers must keep records of sick leave accrual which must be available for review by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
New Jersey Sick Leave Law
There are no minimum hours to be worked before an employee qualifies for sick leave in New Jersey. Employees can take sick leave for themselves or for a family member based on the same family listed for New York.
Sick leave can be used for illnesses, injuries and the following:
- Diagnosis, care, treatment, recovery from, and preventative care
- Safe time following physical and sexual violence
- Physical and psychological injury and disability caused by violence
- Medical attention or services from a victim’s service organization
- Counseling services
- Obtaining a restraining order, preparing and participating in civil or criminal legal procedures
- School or work closure by a public health official
- If the individual’s presence puts others at risk
- A child’s school meeting, conference, function, or other event related to the care and health of the child.
Employers are allowed to set any required minimum use of sick leave. However, it cannot be more than the scheduled shift. Employers, therefore, can require an employee to use sick leave based on the hours they were scheduled to work.
An employee’s accrued sick hours are banked for six months if they leave the company. Sick leave can be limited to 40 hours in a year but banked sick leave cannot be limited.
Sick leave must be available for use upon hiring but employers can restrict use for the first 120 days. Employees can choose to work extra shifts instead of using sick leave.
Employers can request up to seven days’ notice of foreseeable sick leave use but must have a written policy in order to do so. Employers can have blackout dates where foreseeable sick leave is not allowed as long as it is for “verifiable high-volume periods or special events, during which permitting the use of foreseeable earned sick leave would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.”
Employers must keep sick leave records for at least five years.
Maryland Sick Leave Law
Employers with 15 or more employees must pay for sick and safe leave for certain employees and unpaid sick leave for employers with 14 or fewer employees.
Earned sick and safe leave begins to accrue on the day an employee begins employment with at least one hour for every 30 hours the employee works. Employees cannot earn more than 40 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a year. They can also accrue no more than 64 hours of earned sick and safe leave at any time.
An employee can use paid sick leave for:
- Caring or treating their own mental or physical illness, injury, or condition or that of their family members including a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling
- Receiving preventative medical care for their own or a family member
- For maternity or paternity leave
- Absence due to handling issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed against themselves or a family member employee
Earned sick and safe leave can be used in increments based on what is allowed by their employer’s policy. Employees must give notice when they know they will require sick leave which can be denied in some cases.
Employers must provide a written statement of available earned sick and safe leave for each employee.
Florida Sick Leave Law
In Florida, there are no rules providing employees with paid sick leave. However, according to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) an eligible employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period if they have a “serious health condition” or need to care for an ill family member or new child.
In most states, employers must ensure every employee understands their rights based on the law and any additional company policy.
About The Author
Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.