The Who, What, and Where of State Paid Sick Leave

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By Genevieve Douglas

Employers are subject to a patchwork of paid sick leave laws across the country, making compliance tricky in the absence of a single federal mandate.

In most of the 12 states or jurisdictions that require private employers to provide paid sick leave, companies must offer up to 40 hours of sick leave in a year. The laws cover businesses of all sizes, and full-time, part-time, and temporary workers.

Multi-state employers not based in those states or jurisdictions with leave laws aren’t off the hook because most states don’t restrict adherence only to companies within the state, according to Bloomberg Law data. Employers with workers in many of the states below will be expected to comply with each state’s law.

Here’s a closer look at who is covered, who is exempt, and how much leave is required in each state.

Arizona
  • Who’s covered: Private employers of all sizes, state and local government employers, and full-time, part-time, and temporary employees who work for compensation during a given week.
  • How much leave: Employees can earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours in one year. Employers have the choice of implementing accrual programs or providing the 40 hours upfront.
  • Who’s exempt: Franchisors, unless they agree in writing to assume the role of employer or co-employer of franchisees; employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Where it applies: Arizona’s statute is vague on whether out-of-state employers must comply, but Arizona employers don’t have to provide sick leave to employees working outside the state.
California
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers; part-time, per-diem, temporary, and new employees who have reached their 90th day of employment.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Accrual must occur on a regular basis so that workers earn 24 hours of sick leave by the 120th calendar day of employment.
  • Who’s exempt: Workers with collective bargaining agreements with paid sick leave benefits or policies.
  • Where it applies: The California statute applies to all employers nationwide to provide leave to employees working in California for the same employer for at least 30 days within a year after starting employment.
Connecticut
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers; service employees paid on an hourly basis or not exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked, with a maximum of 40 hours per year.
  • Who’s exempt: Manufacturers and nonprofit groups that are nationally chartered and provide recreation, child care, and education. Service employees on a temporary or per-diem basis are also exempt.
  • Where it applies: Employers across the country that have 50 or more employees within the state in any one quarter of the previous year must comply with the statute.
District of Columbia
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers; temporary staffing agency workers.
  • How much leave: Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least seven days; those with 25 to 99 employees must provide at least five days; and those with one to 24 employees must provide at least three days.
  • Who’s exempt: Independent contractors and full-time students employed by their research institution, and health-care workers who opt in to a premium pay program.
  • Where it applies: Any employer with workers in the District of Columbia for at least 90 days must comply with the law.
Maryland
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers with at least 15 employees. Employers with fewer than 15 workers can choose if leave is paid or unpaid.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked with a max of 40 hours in a year and 64 hours at any time.
  • Who’s exempt: Employees who work less than 12 hours a week; certain employees in temporary services, some agricultural operations, as-needed health-care workers, and others.
  • Where it applies: All employers with employees whose primary work location is in Maryland are required to provide earned sick leave, regardless of where the employer is located.
Massachusetts
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers with at least 11 employees. Companies with fewer than 11 workers can provide unpaid sick leave. Full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees are eligible.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Employers also can provide the hours as a lump sum on a monthly or yearly basis.
  • Who’s exempt: The federal government, the state, cities, and towns, and certain other local employers such as school committees; students participating in a federal work-study program at a higher learning institution.
  • Where it applies: Employers across the country must provide employees whose primary work location is in the state with paid sick leave, according to the law.
New Jersey (effective Oct. 29)
  • Who’s covered: All employers and temporary staffing agencies.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.
  • Who’s exempt: Per-diem health-care employees, construction workers employed pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, and public employees who already have sick leave benefits.
  • Where it applies: Any employer across the country with workers in New Jersey will need to comply with the law, effective Oct. 29, 2018.
Oregon
  • Who’s covered: Private employers with 10 or more employees and all state and local government employers. Employers with less than 10 workers can offer unpaid leave.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of sick leave per 30 hours worked, or 1 1/3 hours for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.
  • Who’s exempt: Federal agencies.
  • Where it applies: Any entity that employs one or more employees working anywhere in Oregon must comply.
Puerto Rico
  • Who’s covered: Private employers and federal government agencies if they operate as a private business.
  • How much leave: Employees who work 115 hours in a month can accrue at least one day of sick leave per month.
  • Who’s exempt: Independent contractors, domestic workers (except chauffeurs), and employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Where it applies: U.S. employers with workers in Puerto Rico must comply for those workers.
Rhode Island (effective July 1)
  • Who’s covered: Employers with 18 or more workers.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue 24 hours of sick leave in 2018, 32 hours of leave in 2019, and 40 hours of leave each year after.
  • Who’s exempt: Companies with fewer than 18 employees, state and local government employees, and construction employees under a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Where it applies: The law does not specify the geographic scope for employers.
Vermont
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers; employees who work at least 18 hours per week on average per year.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour of paid leave for every 52 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a 12-month period.
  • Who’s exempt: New employers are exempt from the provisions for one year after the first employee; federal government workers; employees who work on a per-diem or temporary basis.
  • Where it applies: Any employer with workers in Vermont must comply.
Washington
  • Who’s covered: Public and private employers.
  • How much leave: Employees accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked, and employers can provide a higher accrual rate if they choose.
  • Who’s exempt: Employees exempt from the state’s minimum wage law are also exempt for the paid sick leave law.
  • Where it applies: The law does not specify the geographic scope for employers.

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