Benefits Insights, Summer 2015
Though there has been little action at the federal level regarding paid sick leave since President Obama announced his plan to expand paid leave in January, several states and cities have taken action. Eighteen cities along with Massachusetts, California and Connecticut, as well as with the recent addition of Oregon, have laws that guarantee paid sick days for workers. While each state and city has approached the implementation of paid sick leave differently, they are examples of what can be achieved below the federal level.
Connecticut was among the first to implement paid sick leave efforts by making several revisions in response to requests by businesses for clarification of the law’s requirements which took effect on January 1, 2015. California’s new sick leave law also took effect January 1, however, the right to accrue and take sick leave under this law does not take effect until July 1, 2015. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office proposed regulations to the Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave Law, which was approved by voters last fall and goes into effect on July 1, 2015.
Each state is slightly different in how they approach the rate and amount of paid sick time that can be earned under their laws. Connecticut allows 1 hour for every 40 hours worked with a cap of 40 hours a year. California allows one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 24 hours or three days per year. Oregon allows 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to five days a year. Massachusetts’ allows 1 hour for every 30 hours worked (for both paid and unpaid sick time), for workers in businesses with 11 or more employees earning up to 40 hours a year of paid leave and businesses with fewer than 11 employees earning up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.
While accrual rates and amounts vary, it seems all three states agree that leave can be used to care for loved ones, which includes children and spouses. They also agree on providing paid sick leave when leave is required as a result of domestic violence or sexual assault. In addition, Oregon allows employees to donate time off to a co-worker.