PTO Sick Leave: Change Is in the Air
As more state and local governments mandate employer-paid sick leave for employees, it is critical for your clients to keep on top of these changes to make sure they’re complying with the law. While there is no federal law that mandates employers to provide paid time off (PTO) sick leave, it’s a growing trend among employers nationwide. A recent study following Connecticut’s implementation of a mandatory employer-provided PTO sick leave found that employers reported the law benefited them by improving employee morale and decreasing spread of illness among employees.
States of change
As of July 1, 2015, California employers must provide at least three days of PTO sick time for employees to care for themselves or a family member. The law also applies to employers located in other states that have California-based employees. Unlike the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California’s law applies to nearly all employers regardless of size or number of employees.
Additionally, several cities — including New York, San Francisco, and Seattle — have laws mandating PTO sick time. Massachusetts has a statewide ballot measure for mandated employer-paid PTO sick leave coming in the November 2014 elections that’s expected to pass as well.
Time to review PTO policies?
Even if your client’s company is not located in a state or city with a mandatory PTO sick leave law, your client should be proactive and make sure that the company’s PTO and sick leave policies are clearly defined and clearly communicated to employees. Even if your client’s company is exempt from FMLA, it may be in the company’s best interest to offer medical leave and PTO. Doing so can improve employees’ morale and help to attract the top-tier new hires the company may need going forward.
The most important factor to keep in mind when providing PTO and sick leave is that it must be applied consistently to all employees, or your client could risk costly legal issues. An employer should also review PTO and sick leave policies regularly to ensure compliance with any new state or local laws.