Reasons Sick Leave Affects All Employers
Under proposed state legislation, employers would have to provide five or nine days of paid, protected leave every year depending on their size. Many employers who already offer paid time off (PTO) think they won’t be affected. Here’s why that’s actually not the case.
- Carry-Over/Payout: Employees could carry-over unused leave from one year to the next — 40 hours for small companies (less than 10 employees), and 72 hours for larger companies (10 employees and above). The only alternative to the carryover would be employers paying the time out each year.
- Recordkeeping: Employers would be required to keep confidential records of any leave time used by every employee for five years. Information on the health of an employee or their family member would need to be treated as confidential and not disclosed (even to a supervisor) without the employee’s written permission.
- Notice Requirement: Employers would be required to provide written notice on the availability of leave 30 days after a poster is issued; at the time of hiring; and any time requested an the employee.
- Documentation Costs: Although employers could ask for documentation on the need for leave, they’d also have to pay for any costs obtaining it.
- Liability Issues: An employer could be sued if they disciplined an employee for using paid sick leave, took “adverse action” against them, or gave them an “unfavorable reassignment.” If an employee is moved off of a project because they haven’t been in the office, would this constitute adverse action? Couldn’t any reassignment be unfavorable if an employee doesn’t like it?
- Finding Replacements: It would be illegal for an employer to require an employee to find his replacement, even if the employee knew in advance that they’d be taking leave.
- No PTO substitution: Employers offering general paid time off (PTO) would still have to provide an additional number of “sick” days to comply with the legislation. That’s because the legislation prohibits employers from reducing existing benefits which are more favorable to employees, or not addressed by the legislation.