•  
 /  About Us / Details
April 11, 2016

More State and Local Paid Sick Leave Laws (article)

The state of Vermont joins California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon to become the fifth state to enact paid sick leave law. In the local jurisdiction arena, the City of Santa Monica, California, and the Cities of Elizabeth, New Brunswick and Plainfield in New Jersey have adopted new paid sick leave ordinances.

 

There is growing concern about states and local jurisdictions continuing to enact these paid sick leave laws.  While there are similarities in the provisions, there are differences in these laws that may cause confusion among both employers and employees in the terminology and understanding of the requirements of the laws.  Some states have laws in place that prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting these types of laws.  The National Conference of State Legislatures has been approached to review the matter and consider developing and adopting model laws to provide uniformity, reduce administrative burdens, as well as minimize unneeded confusion among employers and employees.

 

Vermont’s Earned Sick Time Law

Governor Peter Shumlin signed a paid sick leave bill (H. 187; Act 69) into law on March 9, 2016.  This law requires employers to provide a minimum of three paid sick leave days in a 12-month period to full-time employees beginning in 2017; five days beginning in 2019 and beyond. 

 

For purposes of this law:

  • A covered employer is defined as any individual, organization, or governmental body, partnership, association, corporation, legal representative, trustee, receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, and any common carrier by rail, motor, water, air, or express company doing business in or operating within Vermont.
  • An eligible employee is one who for consideration of direct or indirect gain or profit, is employed by a covered employer an average of 18 hours per week during a year.  Those ineligible for earned sick leave time include:
  • Individuals employed for less than 20 weeks in a 12-month period in a job scheduled to last 20 weeks or less;
  • Certain individuals employed by health care facilities;
  • Individuals employed by the federal government or by the state of Vermont, including certain school district personnel;
  • Individuals under the age of 18;
  • Certain sole proprietors and partners, and executive members of corporations or LLCs; and
  • Individuals who work on a per diem or intermittent basis with no expectation of continued employment.

Amount of Leave.  An eligible employee accrues one hour of earned sick time for every 52 hours worked.  An employer can cap the amount of earned sick time to a maximum of 24 hours in a 12-month period for the period of January 1, 2017 until December 31, 2018.  Beginning January 1, 2019, the employer can cap the amount of leave to a maximum of 40 hours in a 12-month period.  While newly hired individuals can begin to accrue earned sick time upon their date of hire, an employer can impose a waiting period of up to one year before they can use the leave.

 

Benefits during leave.  Group health benefits must continue during an employee’s use of earned sick time at the same level and conditions that coverage would be provided during normal work hours. An employer may require that the employee contribute to the cost of the benefits during the use of earned sick time at the existing rate of employee contribution.


Use of Leave. Leave can be taken for the following events:

  • To attend to the employee’s own illness or injury, or to receive professional diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health care
  • To care for a family member’s illness or injury, receipt of medical services, or for their long term care
  • To attend to the psychological, physical, or legal effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
  • Closure of a place of business or school due to a public health emergency.

For this purpose, a family member includes parent, grandparent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandchild, or foster child.

 

Notification.  Employers are required to post of notice of the paid leave law in their place of businesses, as well as provide written notification to all new hires.  An employer may require employees requesting leave to avoid scheduling the leave during regular business hours, as well as to notify the employer as soon as practicable of the need for leave. 

 

Coordination with Employer Policy. An employer who already provides paid leave to that meets the minimum requirements of this law need not change its current policy nor offer additional leave.

 

Santa Monica Paid Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance

The City of Santa Monica joins several local California jurisdictions, including San Francisco, Oakland and Emeryville, that have enacted paid sick leave ordinances. The Santa Monica Paid Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance, which takes effect July 1, 2016, requires employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked by an eligible employee. 

 

An eligible employee is one who works at least two hours per week within the geographic boundaries of the City of Santa Monica and is entitled to paid in accordance with California’s minimum wage law. 

 

Affected employers are those who directly or indirectly employ or exercise control over the wages, hours and working conditions of their employees.  This Ordinance does not apply to certain state or federal employers.

 

Leave accrual.  For individuals employed on or before July 1, 2016, accrual of leave will begin July 1, 2016.  For individuals hired after July 1, 2016, accrual of leave begins 90 days following the date of hire. An employee is eligible to use accrued sick leave after the first 90 days of employment.

Amount of leave.  Employers with 26 or more employees must provide at least 72 hours of paid sick leave; employers with 25 or fewer employees must provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave. Paid sick leave carries forward year to year, subject to certain leave caps.

Use of Leave.  Leave can be taken to attend to the employee’s own medical needs or to attend to the needs of a family member, in the diagnosis or treatment of a physical or mental condition, including preventive care services. In addition, leave can be taken for medical or psychological services, relocation services, victim advocacy or other legal services that may be needed as a result of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

For this purpose, a family member includes:

  • A biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, regardless of age or dependency status;
  • A biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or his/her employee spouse or registered domestic partner, or an individual who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;
  • A spouse or registered domestic partner;
  • A grandparent;
  • A grandchild; and
  • A sibling.

Notification.  Employers are required to provide written notification of the paid sick leave benefit to each current employee and to each new employee at the time of hire. In addition, a workplace poster is required to be prominently displayed in all worksite locations. An employer may require employees to give reasonable notification of an absence from work for which paid sick leave is used.

Coordination with Employer Policy. An employer who already provides paid leave to that meets the minimum requirements of this law need not change its current policy nor offer additional leave.

 

New Jersey – Cities of Elizabeth, New Brunswick and Plainfield

The Ordinances passed by the Cities of Elizabeth, New Brunswick and Plainfield are identical to the paid sick leave ordinances enacted by nine other jurisdictions in New Jersey.  In a nutshell, employers employing 10 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.  Those employing less than 10 employees must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick time per calendar year. 

 

The paid sick leave ordinance in the City of New Brunswick became effective January 6, 2016; the City of Elizabeth’s ordinance became effective on March 2, 2016; the City of Plainfield’s ordinance becomes effective on July 12, 2016. 

 

For summaries of the New Jersey ordinances, see these prior Benefit Beat articles:


The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.
  

Insights in Your Inbox
Find Us
  • OR