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Is Your Paid Sick Leave Policy Compliant With State Mandates?

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Many employers offer their employees paid time off (PTO) as part of their compensation packages. These might be blanket plans that allow employees to use paid time for any reason. However, some view it as a “penalty” when employees need to dip into a general-purpose PTO bucket for things like doctor’s appointments or caring for a sick spouse or family member, taking away from the paid time they could be using for a well-deserved vacation. This can make people feel like they need to “save” their time off, and companies might find their employees less likely to take sick days to recover from illness, which can actually be harmful for productivity and morale. Other companies may provide separate plans for vacation time and sick time, so employees don’t feel like they are being penalized for taking unplanned time off to care for themselves or their families. 

Know Your State Law on Paid Sick Leave

In some states, paid sick leave is mandated by state law. Workers employed by eligible employers in these states may be able to take advantage of their sick leave to take time off for a variety of reasons including preventative care, seeking services for domestic violence, or caring for a family member or child. Keep in mind that the allowed usage can vary from state to state. In some cases, cities and counties may also have mandatory paid sick leave laws and regulations in place. As a general rule, businesses should follow the regulation which is most beneficial to their employees. Some companies may even choose to go above and beyond, by offering higher accruals, reducing or eliminating waiting periods and/or carryover limits, or allowing for additional qualifying reasons for paid leave, such as parental leave during the bonding period for a new child.

Below are some helpful links for the states that currently have state mandated policies:










New Jersey 

New York 


Rhode Island 



Washington D.C. 

Work with Payroll Professionals if Possible

Many companies choose to provide sick leave benefits, even outside of cities or states that have regulations in place. For others, certain qualifying reasons may allow for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Navigating through the different regulations of each state (and sometimes city or county) to make sure your business is properly handling sick leave policies and administration can be a daunting task. Working with the experts at Valor Payroll Solutions can help your business stay up to date and maintain compliance with legislation that impacts your organization. Contact us today!


Christina Hageny

Christina Hageny

President - Valor Payroll Solutions

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