Mar 22, 2013

Mandated Paid Sick Leave – Now and In the Future

More U.S. cities and states are considering mandating paid sick leave. Only four cities, Portland, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, and one state, Connecticut, have enacted legislation mandating that all workers be provided with paid sick leave.

Portland is the most recent city to adopt a paid sick leave ordinance that will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Portland’s ordinance requires employers with six or more employees to provide employees who work in Portland one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked by the employee. Up to 40 hours of paid sick leave may be accrued per year. An employee may begin to use his accrued sick leave after 90 days of employment. Employers with less than six workers must provide unpaid sick days to their employees.

Connecticut is the only state that has passed a paid sick leave law. Connecticut’s law went into effect on January 1, 2012. The law applies to “service workers,” who are paid by the hour and work for an employer with 50 or more employees. Temporary workers and non-hourly employees are excluded from the law’s coverage. Eligible employees begin accruing leave when they begin employment, but they must work for an employer for at least 680 hours and average at least 10 hours per week of work for the employer in the most recent quarter before they may begin using any paid sick leave. Employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. Paid sick leave may be used for the health condition or medical care and treatment of the employee (or of the employee’s spouse or child) or for reasons related to family violence or sexual assault.

The Philadelphia City Council passed a paid sick leave bill on March 14, 2013, that would require private employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked by employees in Philadelphia. If Philadelphia’s mayor vetoes the bill, as he did with a similar bill in 2011, the City Council can vote to override the veto.  Long Beach, California passed a more limited version of a paid sick leave law, requiring that non-union hotels with more than 100 rooms must provide five days of paid sick leave per year to full-time employees.  The law went into effect on December 21, 2012. New York City, Maryland, and Vermont, are considering or have proposed similar paid sick leave legislation.

To access summaries of the legislation in San FranciscoWashington, D.C. and Seattle, simply click on the corresponding city.  If you have any questions about these issues, please contact your employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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