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In the U.S., there are no federal requirements for sick leave. On the surface, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) establishes what employers need to provide for workers but it doesn’t have infinite reach. Most employers with over 50 employees need to provide long-term leave to eligible employees, but this is usually unpaid. But recent sick pay legislation may impact U.S. employers shortly.   


States with Sick Leave Requirements  

While federal law doesn’t require states to provide sick leave to employees, employers do have to be compliant with the FMLA. This requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide unpaid long-term leave.   

However, several states have requirements for short-duration sick leave including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia. The specifics of these requirements vary from state to state and some require that leave be paid. It’s also important to note that in some states, local counties and cities have their own ordinances requiring sick leave.   


Paid or Unpaid Sick Leave  

It often comes down to paid or unpaid sick leave. No company is required to provide paid leave in the United States, but as we’ve seen some states and local governments have established that requirement. It’s important to determine what your requirements are, how that affects companies that operate in multiple states, and the resources for employers.   


State Funds for Compensation   

Only 5 of the states we listed above require paid medical leave for employees. These are funded through a variety of sources.   

In California, for example, they use the California Paid Family Leave insurance program. This provides up to 6 weeks paid leave to care for a seriously ill family member such as a child, spouse, or parent. It also covers maternity time and adoption time to bond with a new child. Funds for the program are made available through employee-paid payroll taxes and is handled by the state’s disability program.   


Are you compliant with your state or local government’s sick leave requirements?

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