Sick leave (or paid sick days or sick pay) is time off from work that workers can use to stay home to address their health and safety needs without losing pay. Paid sick leave is a statutory requirement in many nations. Most European, many Latin American, a few African and a few Asian countries have legal requirements for paid sick leave.
In nations without laws mandating paid sick leave, some employers choose to offer it. Those that do offer sick leave do so as a matter of workplace policy or because it is in some or all of the employees' employment contracts or required by a collective bargaining agreement. Currently, ten US states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington); 23 US cities; and two US counties (Montgomery County, MD and San Francisco County, CA) have laws mandating paid sick leave. Currently, there are additional US city, county and state jurisdictions with proposed legislation to enact paid sick leave.
The Book of Leviticus prescribed (7) days of medical isolation for a skin condition in chapter 13. Already in 1500 BCE, at least some of the workers who built the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs received paid sick leave as well as state-supported health care.
Paid sick days (also referred to as sick leave or paid sick leave) guarantee workers paid time off to stay home when they are sick. Some policies also allow paid sick time to be used to care for sick family members, to attend routine doctor or medical appointments, or to address health and safety needs related to domestic violence or sexual assault.
An analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that around 39 percent of American workers in the private sector do not have paid sick leave. Around 79 percent of workers in low-wage industries do not have paid sick time. Most food service and hotel workers (78 percent) lack paid sick days.
One survey reports that 77 percent of Americans believe that having paid sick days is "very important" for workers. Some workers report that they or a family member have been fired or suspended for missing work due to illness.
There is also the controversial issue of some employees taking a paid day off as a Mental health day.
Potential benefits of paid sick leave
Some research has shown that parents who have access to paid sick leave are more likely to take time away from work to care for their sick kids, and other research finds that most children recover faster from illness when cared for by their parents. However, 53 percent of working mothers and 48 percent of working fathers don't have paid sick days to care for children. Without paid time off, workers may be forced to send sick children to school where they spread illness and experience negative short- and long-term health outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asks workers to stay at home if they are sick and to keep sick kids out of school. During the 2009 H1N1 crisis, the CDC recommended that anyone with flu-like symptoms remain at home. According to a report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, more than 8 million workers went to their jobs while sick between September and November 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic.
Nearly seven in ten workers (68 percent) report they have gone to work with the stomach flu or other contagious disease. Nearly half reported that they went to work sick because they could not afford to lose the pay. Thirty percent of workers report they contracted the flu from a colleague.
In addition to their colleagues, workers who choose to go to work sick may risk passing the illness to customers. The Food and Drug Administration guidelines recommend that workers with norovirus-related illnesses work on a restricted basis until 24 hours after symptoms subside. Nearly half of outbreaks caused by the stomach flu are linked to ill food-service workers. In 2008, health officials said a sick employee at a Chipotle restaurant in Kent, Ohio might have caused an outbreak resulting in over 500 people becoming violently ill. The outbreak cost the Kent community between $130,233 and $305,337 in lost wages, lost productivity, and health care costs.
Paid sick leave can also reduce the risk of occupational injuries, especially in high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and health care. One study found that workers with access to paid sick leave were 28% less likely than those without to experience workplace injuries.
Some studies show that the cost of losing an employee (which can include advertising for, interviewing, and training a replacement) is often greater than the cost of providing sick days to retain existing employees. One brief suggests the average cost of turnover is 25 percent of an employee's total annual compensation.
Presenteeism costs the U.S. economy $180 billion annually in lost productivity. For employers, this costs an average of $255 per employee per year and exceeds the cost of absenteeism and medical and disability benefits. For workers in the foodservice industry, one analysis found that foodborne illness outbreak for a chain restaurant – including negative public opinion, which affects other operations in a metropolitan area – can be up to $7 million.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that the average cost of sick leave per employee hour worked is 23 cents and the cost per service worker is 8 cents. Additional research by advocates for a policy has suggested that paid sick days could lead to savings of $1.17 per worker per week for employers.
Many studies have looked at the economic well-being of the city of San Francisco after they passed their sick leave policy in 2004. The research finds that (including other external factors) San Francisco outperformed its neighboring counties in terms of job growth in the years after its sick leave program went into effect – even during the recent recession.
Opposition to a paid sick day mandate
Opponents of a workplace mandate assert that employers should offer paid sick days at their own discretion. They say employers best understand the benefit preferences of their employees and must maintain flexibility to meet the unique needs of their workforce.
Research out of Cleveland State University found that the costs incurred by a paid sick leave policy would include "lost wages for new users of paid sick leave policies and administration expenses incurred to operate sick leave accountability systems." The study concluded that a paid sick leave mandate would have been harmful to the state's employees and employers (noting that the costs of a mandate would outweigh the benefits) by imposing a net cost on the state and resulting in lost jobs.
A survey of New York City employers in 2010 by the Partnership for New York City found that a paid sick leave mandate would cost city employers $789 million per year. The survey also found that small businesses and nonprofit organizations would be faced with almost 20 percent of the cost of the citywide mandate.
A 2013 study by the Employment Policies Institute found that many businesses responded to a paid sick leave mandate in Connecticut by reducing paid leave, scaling back employee benefits, cutting back on hours, reducing wages, or raising prices. About 24% of employers that responded to the survey said they'd hire fewer employees as a consequence of the law and 10% admitted that the law had caused them to limit or restrict their expansion within the state.
The United States does not currently require that employees have access to paid sick days to address their own short-term illnesses or the short-term illness of a family member. The U.S. does guarantee unpaid leave for serious illnesses through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law requires employers with 50 workers working within a 75-mile radius to comply and, within those businesses, covers employees who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months prior to taking the leave. In January 2015, President Barack Obama asked Congress to pass the Healthy Families act under which employees could earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours they work up to seven days or 56 hours of paid sick leave annually. The bill as proposed, would apply to employers with 15 or more employees, for employees as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
State and local laws
Since 2006 and as of 2018 ten states, Washington D.C., and an increasing number of other cities have implemented some form of paid sick leave.
|State||Date of taking effect||Legalization method|
|Connecticut||January 1, 2012||Public Act No. 11-52 signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy on July 1, 2011.|
|California||January 1, 2015 / July 1, 2015||Legislation signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014.|
|Massachusetts||July 1, 2015||Question 4 passed by voters in November 2014.|
|Oregon||January 1, 2016||Legislation (SB 454) signed into law by Governor Kate Brown in 2015.|
|Vermont||January 1, 2017||HB 187 signed into law by Governor Peter Shumlin on March 9, 2016.|
|Arizona||July 1, 2017||Proposition 206 (Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act) passed by voters in November 2016.|
|Washington||January 1, 2018||Initiative 1433 passed by voters in November 2016.|
|Rhode Island||July 1, 2018||Legislation signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo in 2017.|
|Maryland||February 11, 2018||In January 2018, the State Legislature overrode a veto of Governor Larry Hogan.|
|New Jersey||October 29, 2018||Legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy on May 2, 2018|
In November 2006, the voters of San Francisco passed a ballot initiative making the city the first in the country to guarantee paid sick days to all workers. The measure received the support of 61 percent of voters. Under San Francisco's law, workers earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers in businesses with 10 or fewer employees earn up to five days per year, while workers at larger businesses earn nine days per year. Workers use paid sick time to recover from illness, attend doctor visits or care for a sick child, partner, or designated loved one. Two studies demonstrate that employment rates in San Francisco have not suffered in the wake of the paid sick days law. However, the research also found that over 28 percent of employees in the "bottom wage quartile" faced layoffs or total hours reduced as a result of the paid sick leave mandate.
In March 2008, the Washington, D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass legislation guaranteeing workers paid sick time. Under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, workers in businesses with 100 or more workers earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year, workers in businesses with 25-99 workers earn five days, and workers in businesses with 24 or fewer workers earn three days. This paid time off can be used to recover from illnesses, care for sick family members, seek routine or preventative medical care, or obtain assistance related to domestic violence or sexual assault. The law exempts tipped restaurant workers as well as workers in the first year of employment. The D.C. law was also the first in the United States to include paid "safe" days for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
In November 2008, paid sick days were put to a vote on the Milwaukee ballot, and voters passed the measure with 69 percent of the vote, enacting a law that guarantees paid sick and safe days for all workers in the city. The ordinance was immediately challenged by the Chamber of Commerce and has not been implemented. In 2011, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge ruled the city ordinance invalid under a Wisconsin state law that bans local paid sick leave ordinances.
On July 1, 2011, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 11-52 which made Connecticut the first state to mandate paid sick leave. The Act, which only narrowly passed through Connecticut's Senate (18-17) and House of Representatives (76-65), took effect on January 1, 2012, and requires employers to allow their "service workers" to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, capped at a maximum of 40 hours per year. The Act applies to the "service workers" of employers with 50 or more employees in Connecticut during any single quarter in the previous year. It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 workers will be eligible for the paid leave. The Act defines "service worker" as an hourly or non-exempt employee who is primarily engaged in one of 68 occupations including: Food Service Manager, Medical and Health Services Manager, Librarian, Pharmacist, Physician Assistant, Registered Nurse, Home Health Aide, Nursing Aide, Orderly and Attendant, Security Guard, Cook, Food Preparation Worker, Bartender, Fast Food and Counter Worker, Waiter, Waitress, Dishwasher, Host, Hostess, Janitor, Usher, Lobby Attendant, Ticket Taker, Barber, Baggage Porter, Bellhop, Concierge, Cashier, Retail Salesperson, Courier, Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Computer Operator, Data Entry and Information Processing Worker, Bus Driver, Taxi Driver, and Chauffeur. Day laborers and temporary workers are not included within the definition of a "service worker."
New York City's paid sick leave law requires workers in the city earn paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Workers at businesses with more than 15 employees are eligible to accrue up to 40 hours (or five days) of paid sick leave per year. Additionally at companies of any size, no one can be fired for taking an unpaid sick day. Workers may use their accrued time to care for their own illness, that of a family member or to seek preventive medical care for themselves or a family member.
On September 8, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that he would sign a bill requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to those workers, who would accrue the time off at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked. California would become the second state after Connecticut to require paid days off for ill employees. The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 was signed into law. Under the new law, California employees accrue sick pay at one hour for every 30 hours worked and may begin using accrued paid sick days on or after their 90th day of employment.
On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts voters approved "Question 4", a ballot measure mandating sick pay for all part-time and full-time workers at firms with more than 11 employees. The law was passed 59-41 and came into effect July 1, 2015. Sick leave may be used for personal physical or mental illness, the care of a sick child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse, routine health checks, or to address the physical, psychological, and legal effects of domestic abuse. Leave must accrue at least 1 hour per 30 hours worked. The maximum accrual can be limited to 40 hours, but hours must carry forward between calendar years. Employers may only require a medical note if a minimum of 24 consecutive work hours have been missed.
On June 12, 2015 the Oregon legislature passed OL 537, 2015 mandating sick pay for all workers at businesses with at least 10 employees (or 6 or more for cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants—i.e. Portland, Oregon), effective January 1, 2016; this replaced existing sick pay laws passed in Portland and Eugene. Permitted uses for sick leave include the illness or injury of the employee or a family member, any reason for leave under Oregon's Domestic Violence leave statute, and certain public health emergencies. Leave accrues at 1 hour per 30 hours worked, and a maximum of 80 hours may be accrued. Businesses with too few employees to qualify for paid sick leave must provide unpaid protected sick leave.
Sick leave has its origins in trade union campaigns for its inclusion in industrial agreements. In Australia, it was introduced into "industrial awards" in 1922
Under the Federal Government's industrial relations legislation (Fair Work) eligible employees are entitled to 10 days of paid personal leave (sick/carer's leave) per year, which also carries over to subsequent years if not used.
In addition, Australian workers may be entitled to two days of compassionate leave for each permissible occasion where a member of their family or household contracts or develops a personal illness or sustains a personal injury that poses a threat to his or her life, or dies.
The UK has sick leave, paid at £89.35 per week, with the first three days unpaid.
Sweden has paid sick leave. The first sick day was historically not paid, but this was changed in January 2019. After that day a minimum of 80% of the income is paid for 364 days and 75% for a further maximum 550 days. Collective employment contracts may specify a higher payment. A medical doctor must certify the illness no later than one week after the first sick day. A parent of a less than 12-year-old sick child can get paid leave to care for the child (termed "temporary parental leave"). In that case the first day is also paid. The state pays all these benefits, except for the first two weeks of sick leave for employees, which is paid by the employer.
According to Chinese Labor Law, the sick leave system is established for employees who are suffering from illness or non-work related injuries. During the medical treatment period, an employer cannot terminate the labor contract and must pay the sick-leave wage. Generally, an employee is compensated at 60 to 100 percent of their regular wage during the sick-leave period, depending on the employee's seniority. The minimum sick leave is 3 months long for employees with less than a 10-year cumulative work history, and less than 5 year's seniority with their current employer. Sick leave for workers with 20 years of work history and 15 years with their current employer are entitled to unlimited paid sick-leave.
In France paid sick leave is paid partly by social security (Sécurité sociale) and partly by the employer. It requires a medical justification no later than 48 hours after the first sick day. Social security only pays one part of the treatment, starting at the fourth day, and can make controls. The employer pays an additional part depending on collective agreement and legislation. Basic legislation requires that an employee working for more than one year, starting at eighth sick day social security and employer together provides 90% of salary for at least 30 days. Ratio and number of days are computed according to the number of years worked in the company.
Other legislation and agreements are applicable in other contexts such as sick child, pregnancy, paternity leave.
Since 2011, civil servants are not paid for the first day of a sick leave ("jour de carence"). This rule was abolished in 2014, and then reinstated again since January 2018.
In Germany, employers are legally required to provide at least six weeks of sick leave per illness at full salary if the employee can present a medical certificate of being ill (which is issued on a standard form). The salary paid during sick leave is partially refunded to employers.
After these six weeks, an employee who is insured in the statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) receives about 70% of their last salary, paid by the insurance. According to § 48 SGB V (social code 5) the health insurance pays for a maximum of 78 weeks in case of a specific illness within a period of 3 years. In case another illness appears during the time when the employee is already on sick leave then the new diagnosed illness will have no effect on the maximum duration of the payment. Only if the patient returns to work and falls sick again with a new diagnosis / illness, then the payment will be extended.
Fathers and mothers who are insured in the statutory health insurance and are raising a child younger than 12 years also have the right to paid leave if the child is sick (Kinderkrankengeld). The insurance pays for a maximum of 10 days per parent and per child (20 days for a single parent), limited to 25 days per year per parent (50 for a single parent).
For patients with a private health insurance, payments beyond the legally mandated first six weeks depend on the insurance contract.
Proposed policies in the United States
In August 2008, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago released their findings from a national public opinion poll on paid sick days.
- 86 percent of people surveyed said they favor a basic paid sick day policy.
- 94 percent of self-identified liberals and 81 percent of self-identified conservatives believed that paid sick day should be a basic workplace right.
- 77 percent of respondents believed that paid sick days were very important.
- 63 percent of workers who do not have access to paid sick leave said they are concerned about not having paid sick days.
- 16 percent of workers report that they or a family member have been fired, suspended, or otherwise punished or that they would be fired if they missed work due to illness.
- 46 percent of respondents said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports paid sick days.
U.S. federal legislation
The Healthy Families Act (HR 2460 / S 1152) would establish a basic workplace mandate of paid sick days so workers can take paid sick days to care for their health or the health of their families.
The bill creates a minimum requirement that allows workers to earn up to seven days per year of paid leave to recover from illness, to care for a sick family member, or to seek preventative health care. It enables victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault to take paid time off to recover from incidents and seek assistance from the police or court. It also allows people to take time off to care for ill parents and elderly relatives, or to attend diagnostic or routine medical appointments. Employers with fewer than 15 workers would be exempt from the law.
The Healthy Families Act would allow an additional 30 million workers to have access to paid sick leave from their jobs, including 15 million low-wage workers and 13 million women workers. If the bill were to become law, 90 percent of all American workers would have access to paid sick days (up from 61 percent currently).
A version of the bill was first introduced in 2004. Each session, it has gained support inside and outside of Congress. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Edward Kennedy reintroduced the Healthy Families Act in the 111th Congress in May 2009. After Senator Kennedy's death, Senator Chris Dodd became the lead Senate sponsor of the Healthy Families Act. The bill currently has 125 co-sponsors in the House and 24 in the Senate.
The Healthy Families Act was the subject of three hearings in the 111th United States Congress:
- House Education and Labor Committee's Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing on the Healthy Families Act on June 11, 2009.
- Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Children and Families hearing, “The Cost of Being Sick: H1N1 and Paid Sick Days,” on November 10, 2009.
- House Education and Labor Committee hearing, “Protecting Employees, Employers and the Public: H1N1 and Sick Leave Policies,” on November 17, 2009.
The Obama Administration has testified in support of the bill. First Lady Michelle Obama has spoken out on numerous occasions about the need for a paid sick day mandate.
Current U.S. state and local campaigns
In recent years, advocates in states and cities across the country have created campaigns for paid sick days laws.
Alabama State Rep. Merika Coleman introduced paid sick and safe time legislation in February 2010. The paid sick time would have allowed employees to take time off for illness; to seek medical diagnosis or treatment; care for a sick family member; take time away when a school has been closed due to a public health emergency; or to seek services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The legislation was not considered by the legislature and has since died.
A coalition led by Alaska PIRG advocated for a paid sick days mandate in Alaska in 2009 that would have provided one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked by an employee. The legislation would apply to all businesses with 15 or more employees. The paid sick time could have been used to recover from illness, care for a sick family member, or seek domestic violence recovery services.
Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, with the support of several of her colleagues in the Arizona House of Representatives, introduced paid sick and safe time legislation in 2010. The paid sick days could have been used by employees to recover from an illness, seek medical diagnosis or treatment, care for a sick family member, in the event of a public health emergency, or to seek services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The legislation was not considered by the legislature and has since died.
In 2006, San Francisco voters passed the first paid sick leave law in the country with 61 percent of the city vote. Young Workers United; other San Francisco community organizations led the grassroots campaign for the law.
California's paid sick days campaign, coordinated by the California Work and Family Coalition and sponsored by the California Labor Federation, is working to bring paid sick days to all California workers. The California coalition includes advocates working on behalf of workers, women, children, people of color, and the state's public health interest.
Paid sick day legislation was last considered in California in May 2011. The legislation would have allowed workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers would have been able to use the paid sick days to recover from illness, to care for an ill family member, or to seek services related to sexual assault, or domestic violence. The bill would have guaranteed employees of businesses with 10 or more employees the right to use a minimum of nine paid sick days annually. Employees of smaller businesses would be guaranteed a minimum of five paid sick days annually.
On September 10, 2014, the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, which applies to employers regardless of size, with only a few enumerated categories of employees ineligible for leave. Authored by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the bill is expected to affect more than 6.5 million employees who have no paid sick days. That's roughly 40 percent of the workforce in the state. Under the law, employees accrue sick pay at no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked and may begin using accrued paid sick days on their 90th day of employment. This new law took effect on July 1, 2015.
The Colorado Paid Sick Days Coalition is led by 9to5, National Association of Working Women, and includes many partner organizations working on behalf of workers, women, children, people of color, and the state's public health interest. Colorado's paid sick days bill in 2010 would have allowed employees to take time away from work to recover from illness, receive medical treatment, care for a sick family member, or seek services related to domestic violence. Though the legislation was introduced in 2010, it was pulled almost immediately after. The bill sponsors acknowledged that the legislation needed more work before it could be considered.
Connecticut's campaign is led by Working Families. Connecticut's bill was signed by Governor Dan Malloy on July 1, and enables workers to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, capped at 40 hours per year. In previous years, similar proposals had failed in the state legislature over concerns of how the mandate would negatively impact businesses in the state. In 2011, the legislation was approved in the state Senate by one vote (18-17). Under the paid sick day mandate, Connecticut workers employed by businesses with 50 or more employees would be able to take a paid sick day to recover from illness, seek preventive care, care for a sick child, or seek assistance related to family violence, sexual assault, or violence.
Legislation introduced in Hawaii in 2009 would have allowed workers to earn paid sick time to recover from their own illness, seek medical diagnosis or treatment, or to care for a sick family member. Employees would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours for those employed by smaller businesses (defined as having fewer than 50 employees) or a maximum of 72 hours for those employed by larger businesses (defined as having 50 or more employees). The legislation was not approved the legislature and has since died.
Paid sick days legislation in Illinois would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time per 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven days per year. Under the Healthy Workplace Act, paid sick days could be used to recover from an illness, care for a sick family member, or seek medical diagnosis or treatment. In February 2015, Chicago voters overwhelmingly approved a non-binding sick leave referendum to require employers in the city to provide employees with paid leave in the event of a personal or family illness, an incident of domestic or sexual violence, or a school or building closure due to a public health emergency.
Iowa's paid sick and safe days proposal, introduced by State Sen. Thomas Courtney (on behalf of the Senate Committee on Labor and Business Relations) in 2010, would have allowed workers to earn 5.54 hours of job-protected, paid sick time per 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 18 days per year. Leave could be used to recover from illness, to seek diagnosis or treatment, to care for a sick family member, to seek services related to domestic assault, sexual abuse, or stalking, or in the event of a public health emergency.
The Maine Women's Lobby partnered with the Maine Work and Family Coalition to introduced a paid sick days bill in Maine in 2010. The bill would have guaranteed workers at larger businesses up to about six paid sick days per year, while workers at smaller businesses could have earned approximately three paid sick days per year. The earned paid sick time could have been used for routine illness, to care for a family member during a public health emergency, to receive preventive care, or to be used in relation to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The legislation was rejected by the state House in March 2010.
The Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition, directed by Greater Boston Legal Services in collaboration with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action are advocating for a paid sick days bill in the state legislature. The coalition includes advocates for workers, seniors, children, and people of color, and is supporting a bill that would provide all workers with one hour of paid sick time per 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven days per year. Workers could use the paid sick days to recover from illness, to care for a sick family member, or to seek assistance related to domestic violence.
In 2014, Massachusetts voters passed a ballot initiative mandating paid sick leave.
The Minnesota Healthy Families, Healthy Workplace Act from 2009 would have provided all workers with paid sick days to be used to recover from their own illness, to care for a sick family member, or for absence related to domestic violence. Workers would have earned one hour of paid sick time per 40 hours worked, capped at 52 hours (or 6.5 days) per year. Smaller businesses would have provided one hour of paid sick time for every 80 hours worked, capped at 26 hours (or 3.25 days) per year. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees would have been exempt from the law. The proposal was not considered by the state legislature and has since died.
Montana State Rep. Mary Caferro introduced paid sick days legislation in 2009. The legislation was tabled in committee and was not considered further in the 2009 legislative session.
New Hampshire's campaign, led by the New Hampshire Women's Lobby & Alliance, is partnering with a large coalition that includes women's rights and public health advocates to advance a paid sick days bill in the state's legislature. The legislation from 2009, which is now dead, would have provided up to five paid sick and safe days for New Hampshire workers, allowing them to take paid time to recover from illness, to care for a sick family member, or for absence necessary due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
New Jersey's campaign for paid sick leave is being led by the New Jersey Time to Care Coalition and the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. On September 25, 2013, the Jersey City council passed an ordinance regarding sick leave, and it became the first city in New Jersey mandating that private employers provide paid sick leave to their employees. Over the next year, Passaic, Newark, East Orange, and Paterson passed similar ordinances. As of December 2014, Paid Sick Leave ordinances have been passed in New Jersey in Passaic, Newark, East Orange, Jersey City, Irvington, Paterson, Montclair, and Trenton.
In February 2014, Assembly Bill 2354 was introduced in the New Jersey General Assembly by Pamela Lampitt and Raj Mukherji. Testimony was heard by the Assembly Labor Committee, and on October 27 the bill was released from the Labor Committee by a vote of 6-3. The bill is currently awaiting further action in the legislature.
New York City
New York City's campaign, which is led by A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition, and the Working Families Party, is working with a broad coalition to raise awareness and advance the paid sick and safe days mandate. The coalition includes active participation by Make the Road New York and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York as well as involvement by public health leaders of the city and advocates working on behalf of workers, children, and women.
New York City's law requires workers in the city earn paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Workers at businesses with more than 15 employees are eligible to accrue up to 40 hours (or five days) of paid sick leave per year. Additionally at companies of any size, no one can be fired for taking an unpaid sick day. Workers may use their accrued time to care for their own illness, that of a family member or to seek preventive medical care for themselves or a family member. City Coucilmember Gale Brewer's legislation passed in the spring of 2013, requiring paid sick days for nearly 1 million New York City workers. Gale's bill was opposed by some business interests, Mayor Bloomberg, and the City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but she was able to build overwhelming public support and convinced the Speaker to change her mind. The bill passed with a veto-proof majority.
New York State
New York State Assemblyman Karim Camara and State Senator Kevin Parker introduced legislation in the New York legislature that would require employers to provide one hour of paid sick time for every 20 hours worked. Workers at larger businesses (defined as having 10 or more employees) would be able to earn up to 80 hours (or ten days) of paid sick time per year, and workers at smaller businesses could earn up to 40 hours (or five days). The time could be used to recover from illness or care for a sick family member.
North Carolina's Paid Sick Days Campaign, led by the North Carolina Justice Center supported legislation that would have guaranteed one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked by employees, up to an annual maximum of 56 hours (7 days) for larger businesses (defined as having 10 or more employees) or 32 hours (4 days) for smaller businesses (defined as having fewer than 10 employees). The paid sick days would have been used for an employee's own illness, to care for a sick family member, or to recover from incidents of domestic violence and stalking. Certain workers who are exempt from minimum wage laws would not be covered by the law. The legislation was not considered by the legislature this year and is now dead.
Portland only: Effective January 1, 2014 all employers with one or more employee must comply with Portland's Sick Leave Law. Employees earn one hour of sick leave for every thirty hours after a minimum of 240 hours worked allowing them to earn a maximum of 40 hours of sick time per year. The leave may be unpaid for employers with less than 6 employees but must be paid for employers with 6 or more. Up to 40 unused hours may rollover into the upcoming year. The illness may be of the employee or a qualified family member including spouse, same-sex domestic partner, child, grandparent, grandchild, parent, or parent-in-law. Qualified illnesses need not be substantiated with a doctor's note and if required, all out-of-pocket expenses for the note must be paid by the employer. Rather than pay for the note, an employer may choose to allow employees to sign a statement acknowledging the time out was for a qualified reason. Adverse employment decisions may not be made based upon a request to use sick leave or actual use of the time.
PathWays PA is working with a large coalition to support paid sick days for all Pennsylvania workers. The Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, capped at 52 hours (or 6.5 days) per year. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be required to offer workers one hour of paid sick time for every 80 hours worked, capped at 26 hours (or 3.25 days) per year. Workers may use paid sick days to recover from their own illness, to care for a sick family member, or to recover from or seek services related to incidents of domestic violence.
The coalition advocating for paid sick days in the city of Philadelphia, led by PathWays PA, is supporting the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces ordinance. Under this measure, workers would be able to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers in larger businesses could earn up to 72 hours (or 9 days) of paid sick time, and workers in smaller businesses could earn up to 40 hours (or five days) of paid sick time. Workers would be able to use their earned sick days to recover from illness or to care for a sick family member. Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed the legislation in June 2011. The Mayor had long said that the issue was best addressed at the federal level, and that a city mandate would make Philadelphia less competitive with neighboring cities that did not impose a paid sick leave mandate. Eventually, a limited version of the plan was approved. Effective May 13, 2015, the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance requires employers with 10 or more employees in the City of Philadelphia to provide paid and unpaid sick leave to eligible employees. The Ordinance covers full- and part-time employees who work at least 40 hours per year within the City of Philadelphia. Eligible employees will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
Introduced by State Reps. Messier, Carnevale, Handy, Naughton, and Ferri, Rhode Island's proposed paid sick time legislation would allow workers to earn job-protected paid time off to be used to recover from an illness, seek medical diagnosis or treatment, care for a sick family member, take time away when a school has been closed due to a public health emergency, or seek services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The bill would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to seven days per year for larger businesses and up to four days per year for small businesses.
The Coalition for a Healthy Tacoma, a group of labor, human services, faith, seniors', and women's organizations, is spearheading a new citywide initiative in the city of Tacoma, Washington. The Tacoma campaign is advocating for one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours an employee works, up to 40 hours per year for workers in smaller businesses and 72 hours per year for workers in larger businesses. Washington already has a statewide law called the Family Care Act that requires businesses that offer paid sick time to permit a worker to use that time to care for an ill family member, so the Tacoma ordinance would only address paid sick time for workers themselves.
On May Day 2018, labor unions, the Workers Defense Project, progressive businesses, the Democratic Socialists of America, and other activists joined together in calling for a paid sick leave requirement for all workers in Austin. While Texas law prohibits cities from requiring wages above the federal minimum wage for residents, it was silent about non-wage benefits like sick leave, and Austin City Council Member Gregorio Casar and his allies saw an opening to advance labor rights in the city. Austin became the first city in the South to require paid sick leave. Responding to the success in Austin, and due to the advocacy of the organizations who fought for the policy in Austin, both San Antonio and Dallas passed Austin's version of paid sick leave ordinance.. Following passage, business groups sued to block the Austin law. Appeals of that decision are pending. Additionally, Republican State lawmakers are seeking to pass legislation to prohibit cities from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave, but those efforts have not been successful. A lobbyist opposed to paid sick leave requirements believed the bills failed to pass due to a growing progressive movement in Texas, saying: “I think they’re winning in a red state. … They’re starting to take over the state, and they will.”
Voices for Vermont's Children, the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign, and their coalition partners supported legislation in Vermont from 2009 that would have allowed employee to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours (or seven days) each year. Workers would have been able to use their days to recover from their own illness, care for a sick family member, or seek preventive or routine health care. The legislation would have also created a safe day mandate that survivors of domestic or sexual assault could use for legal or health issues. The legislation was not considered by the legislature and has since died.
The Economic Opportunity Institute, at the helm of the Washington Family Leave Coalition, is building support for a paid sick day mandate in Washington State. Washington was among the first states in the nation to consider paid sick days legislation, and advocates have built a strong movement committed to improving standards to better meet the needs of both families and businesses.
The Wisconsin Paid Sick Days Coalition, led by 9to5, National Association of Working Women, is working to build upon momentum created by the Milwaukee Paid Sick Days Campaign and to generate support for statewide legislation. Their proposal would provide access paid sick days for all Wisconsin workers, as well as access to paid safe days for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. On May 5, 2011 Governor Scott Walker signed legislation that prohibits local paid sick leave ordinances from being enacted in Wisconsin.
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