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While no federal statute requires that employers provide paid sick leave for employees, Executive Order 13706 mandates that, effective January 1, 2017, covered federal contractors give employees up to seven days of paid sick leave each year. See 80 FR 54697. It remains to be seen if the Trump Administration will rescind this executive order.
IN ADDITION, RECENT LEGISLATION AT THE STATE AND local level has increasingly driven employers in affected jurisdictions to implement and maintain paid sick leave policies.
This checklist provides issues to consider when you assist employers with drafting paid sick leave policies. Generally, paid sick leave policies should (1) conform with applicable laws, (2) define employee eligibility, (3) explain how paid sick leave will be accrued, and (4) describe how paid sick leave may be used. Since paid sick leave laws vary by jurisdiction, check the state and local laws where the employer is located to ensure your policy fully complies with applicable law.
Follow these steps to ensure that any paid sick leave policy is legally enforceable in your jurisdiction:
Ascertain whether the company’s employees are eligible for paid sick leave as follows:
Determine how employees should accrue paid sick leave by taking the following measures:
In making this decision, consider the legal requirements as well as the impact on the employer’s business. If the hours are lost at the end of the year, employees may be motivated to find ways to use paid sick leave, particularly in the final month of the benefit year. Further, while paying out the value of employees’ accrued hours increases payroll costs, such a policy may increase productivity by incentivizing employees to abstain from using paid sick leave.
Determine how employees should use paid sick leave by following these measures:
Some paid sick leave laws require employers to make postings concerning applicable paid sick leave requirements in a prominent place (some laws may provide an option for making an electronic posting). For example, under Executive Order 13706, covered contractors have to post a notice provided by the U.S. Department of Labor in a conspicuous place (or electronically). See 80 FR 54697.
Draft, Distribute, and Retain the Policy
Adhere to these final steps in the drafting process, including distributing the policy and complying with recordkeeping requirements:
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Attendance, Leaves, and Disabilities > Attendance and Time Off > Forms > Sick Leave Policies
For more information on paid sick leave, see
> DEVISING EMPLOYEE SICK LEAVE POLICIES
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Attendance, Leaves, and Disabilities > Attendance and Time Off > Practice Notes > Drafting Attendance and Time-Off Policies
For a sample sick leave policy, see
> SICK LEAVE POLICY
For assistance in drafting a policy for paid time off (PTO) in lieu of vacation, sick, and/or other paid time off, see
> PAID TIME OFF (PTO) AND SICK DAYS POLICY
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Attendance, Leaves, and Disabilities > Attendance and Time Off > Forms > Paid Time Off (PTO) and Leave-Sharing Policies
For information on state and local sick leave statutes, see the “Family, Medical, Sick, Pregnancy, and Military Leave” column of
> CHART – STATE PRACTICE NOTES (ATTENDANCE, LEAVES, AND DISABILITY MANAGEMENT)
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Attendance, Leaves, and Disabilities > Attendance and Time Off > Practice Notes > State Practice Note Coverage