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U.S. Paid Sick Leave Laws by State
The recent novel Coronavirus outbreak in the United States has quickly turned the concept of paid sick leave into a high priority throughout the country.
Although paid sick leave has always been a highly sought-after benefit for those in the work force, there is no federally mandated paid sick leave law. Instead, these laws are generally implemented on a state-by-state, county-by-country, and even city-by-city basis.
Which states have paid sick leave laws? With the help of visual data firm 1Point21 Interactive, we created a comprehensive interactive map of all states in the country that provide mandatory paid sick leave law to qualified employees.
Hover over each state to find more details regarding paid sick leave laws in each state.
Sick Leave Laws by State
Currently, only 12 states and Washington D.C. have paid sick leave laws in place. Of those 12, three – California, Maryland, and Washington – have local laws in place for specific cities within each state. Five states – Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Texas – only have local laws mandating paid sick leave.
A State by State Look At Paid Sick Leave Laws
The following table provides extensive details for each state’s paid sick leave laws. It is important to note that each state has varying statutes regarding:
- Covered employers
- Covered employees
- Accrual rates and any associated annual caps
- Maximum annual usage of paid sick leave
|State||State Law?||Covered Employers||Covered Employees||Accrual||Max usage per year|
|Arizona||Yes||All||All||1 hour for every 30 hours worked||employers with 15+ employees: 40 hours
employers with 1-15 employees: 24 hours
|California||Yes||1 or more employees who work more than 30 days in a year||employees who work 30 or more days per year||1 hour for every 30 hours worked.||24 hours or three days|
|Connecticut||Yes||employers with 50 or more employees in any one quarter of the previous year||hourly, non-exempt service workers||1 hour for every 40 hours worked.||40 hours|
|District of Columbia||Yes||all||all||employers with 100+ employees: 1 hour every 37 hrs
employers with 25-99 employees: 1 hour every 43 hrs
employers with 1-24 employees: 1 hour every 87 hrs
|employers with 100+ employees: seven days
employers with 25-99 employees: five days
employers with 1-24 employees: three days
|Maryland||Yes||employers with 15+ employees||employees who work at least 12 hours/week||1 hours for every 30 hours||64 hours|
|Massachusetts||Yes||employers with 11+ employees||all||1 hours for every 30 hours||40 hours|
|Michigan||Yes||employers with 50+ employees||employees who work at least 25 hours/week, at least 26 weeks/year for job scheduled for at least 26 weeks, primary work location in Michigan||1 hour for every 35 hours||40 hours|
|New Jersey||Yes||all employers with employees in state||all employees working for employer in state||1 hour for every 30 hours||40 hours|
|New York||Local Only|
|Oregon||Yes||employers with 10+ employees
employers in large cities (500,000+ population) with 6+ employees
|All||1 hour for every 30 hours||40 hours|
|Rhode Island||Yes||employers with 18+ employees||full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary employees||1 hour for every 35 hours||40 hours; two days for domestic workers|
|Vermont||Yes||All employers doing business and/or operating in state||Employees who work an average of at least 18 hours/week during a year||1 hour for every 52 hours||40 hours|
|Washington||Yes||All||All||1 hour for every 40 hours||N/A|
it is important to note that some state laws may have further provisions:
- Some states offer options to frontload any paid sick leave – companies may be allowed to offer sick leave hours in one lump sum at the beginning of the year to use as needed.
- Some states allow rollover of any accrued hours – but only in certain circumstances.
- Some states only provide paid sick leave benefits to specific types of workers.
Because these provisions may vary on a state-by-state – and even city-by-city – basis, it is highly recommended to consult an employment attorney in your state for a comprehensive overview of all applicable paid sick leave laws.
City or County Specific Paid Sick Leave Laws
Eight states in the USA have paid sick leave laws on a local level:
• New York
This means that certain cities and counties in these states have their own statutes regarding mandatory paid sick leave.
|City/County||Covered Employers/th>||Covered Employers||Accrual||Max usage per year|
|Berkeley, CA||All||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage or Welfare-to-Work program||1 hour every 30 hours||employers with 1-24 employees: 48 hours
employers with 25+ employees: none
|Emeryville, CA||All with employees working in city||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage||1 hour every 30 hours||employers with 1-55 employees: 48 hours
employers with 56+ employees: 72 hours
|Los Angeles, CA||employers with employees working in city||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage||1 hour every 30 hours||48 hours|
|Oakland, CA||employers with employees working in city||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage||1 hour every 30 hours||N/A|
|San Diego, CA||employers with employees working in city||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage or Welfare-to-Work program||1 hour every 30 hours||40 hours|
|San Francisco, CA||employers with employees working in city||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage||1 hour every 30 hours||N/A|
|Santa Monica, CA||All||employees who work at least two hours per calendar week in the city and are entitled to minimum wage||1 hour every 30 hours||N/A|
|Chicago, IL||employers with at least one covered employee and maintain a business in Cook County and/or are subject to one or more of Chicago’s licensing requirements||employees who work at least two hours in Chiciago in any paritcular two-week period and who work at least 80 hours within any 120-day period||1 hour every 40 hours||40 hours; 60 hours under special FMLA circumstances|
|Cook County, IL||employers with at least one covered employee and maintain a business in Cook County||employees who work at least two hours in Chiciago in any paritcular two-week period and who work at least 80 hours within any 120-day period||1 hour every 40 hours||40 hours; 60 hours under special FMLA circumstances|
|Montgomery County, MD||all.||employees who work more than eight hours per week||1 hour every 30 hours||80 hours|
|Duluth, MN||employers with 5+ employees||employees who work at least 80 hours a year in MN||1 hour every 30 hours||N/A|
|Minneapolis, MN||employers with 6+ employees||employees who work at least 80 hours a year in MN||1 hour every 30 hours||40 hours|
|St. Paul, MN||employers with one or more employees that have a physical location in St. Paul||employees who work at least 80 hours a year within St. Paul||1 hour every 30 hours||N/A|
|New York City, NY||employers with 5+ employees or one or more domestic workers||employees and domestic workers who work more than 80 hours a year. Domestic workers must also work for the same employer for one year||1 hour every 30 hours||40 hours
two days for domestic workers
|Westchester County, NY||employers with 5+ employees or one or more domestic workers||employees and domestic workers who work more than 80 hours in a year||1 hour every 30 hours||40 hours
two days for domestic workers
|Philadelphia, PA||employees with 10+ employees and chain establishments||employees who work at least 40 hours a year||1 hour every 30 hours||40 hours
two days for domestic workers
|Dallas, TX||all||employees who work at least 80 hours in a calendar year||1 hour every 30 hours||8 days per calendar year|
|San Antonio, TX||all||employees who work at least 80 hours in a calendar year||1 hour every 30 hours||8 days per calendar year|
|Seattle, WA||all||all employees who work in Seattle more than 240 hours in a year||employers with 1-249 full-time equivalent employees: 1 hour for every 40 hours
employers with 250+ full-time equivalent employees: 1 hour for every 30 hours
|Tacoma, WA||all||employees who work more than 80 hours in a year||employers with 1-249 full-time equivalent employees: 1 hour for every 40 hours
employers with 250+ full-time equivalent employees: 1 hour for every 30 hours
|SeaTac Airport, WA||certain hospitality and transportation industry employers||nonmanagerial, nonsupervisory employees||1 hour for every 40 hours||N/A|
In states with both state and local laws, the local laws generally take precedence over any state provisions.
What Qualifies for Paid Sick Leave?
Generally, paid sick leave should be used by employees when they have contracted an illness. However, there may be other qualifying reasons to take paid sick leave. This includes:
- An employee’s injury
- A family member’s illness or injury
- Preventive care as a result of an illness or injury
- Maternity/paternity leave
- Reasons related to domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking
However, some states or localities allow employees to take paid sick leave law for special reasons. These include:
- Provisions for the birth, care, placement, and/or adoption of a foster child
- Unexpected closure of school or childcare facility
- Any meeting regarding a child’s health
- School conferences or meetings
- Exposure to communicable disease
Interestingly, Oregon is the only state that allows employees to donate their paid sick leave hours to another co-worker if allowed by employer.
For more information on the details of your corresponding paid sick leave law, it is best to consult with an attorney specializing in employment law.
Notable Paid Sick Leave Laws in States with Coronavirus Outbreaks
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 states and Washington, D.C. have currently reported cases of Coronavirus. However, the majority of infections have occurred in a few select states: California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington. Fortunately, for those infected who are forced into quarantine, all of these states offer mandatory paid sick leave on some level.
Washington Paid Sick Leave Laws
The state of Washington has the highest number of Coronavirus cases in the country. With a lack of proper testing procedures and infections starting in nursing homes, the virus has spread rapidly and without much resistance.
Washington has the least restrictive paid sick leave laws in the nation. All employers and employees are covered under state law, with no restrictions on employer size or employee hours worked. Additionally, Washington provides no caps on maximum yearly usage – or on annual caps for hours accrued.
Seattle and Tacoma paid sick leave laws have some additional provisions restricting coverage based on employer size and employee hours worked. However, they remain unrestricted in terms of annual caps and maximum usage.
Interestingly, SeaTac Airport has its own special provisions on paid sick leave, covering employees in certain hospitality and transportation industry employers – but much like Seattle and Tacoma, they follow state-level recommendations on annual caps and maximum yearly usage.
New York Paid Sick Leave Laws
New York is undergoing similar rapid infections, with Westchester County and New York City containing some of the largest clusters of Coronavirus cases in the United States.
Unfortunately, there are no paid sick leave laws at the state level for New York. However, New York City and Westchester County (the localities most affected by Coronavirus) have mandatory provisions that may provide some relief to those living in those jurisdictions.
New York City and Westchester County paid sick leave law states that all employers with five or more employees must offer paid sick leave to employees who work more than 80 hours annually. These covered employees accrue hours at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours of work, with hours capped at 40 hours for both annual accrual and usage.
Additionally, both jurisdictions also provide paid sick leave for domestic workers – those who provide services in care, housekeeping, and childcare. In order to qualify in NYC, domestic workers must work for the same employer for one year, on top of the 80 annual hours threshold. Additionally, domestic workers only qualify for two days of paid sick leave – considerably less than the 40 hours provided to all other employees.
California Paid Sick Leave Laws
California’s paid sick leave laws are fairly straightforward: employers with employees who work more than 30 days annually are covered, and those employees who work more than 30 days annually are covered as well. Additionally, employers may frontload hours at the beginning of the year if they wish. However, state law mandates a maximum usage of just 24 hours or three days, regardless of employer size – the lowest max usage of all other states.
Fortunately, the following California cities have their own local statutes that offer significantly more provisions regarding paid sick leave:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Santa Monica
Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave Laws
Massachusetts recently had a sharp rise in Coronavirus cases due to a large cluster of cases arising from a larger conference in Boston held by Cambridge biotech company Biogen. As many as 70 of the 100+ reported cases in the state have been linked to those who attended the meeting.
Massachusetts state law dictates that all employers with more than 10 employees must provide paid sick leave for all employees. Paid sick leave accrues at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours of work – but it may also be frontloaded. Employees have paid sick hours capped at 40 hours in both accrual and usage every year.
Pending Paid Sick Leave Litigation for Coronavirus and Beyond
Despite the threat of a pandemic looming across the nation, and the potential for further unnecessary infections due to sick employees coming into work, paid sick leave laws remain incredibly unpopular to litigators across the county.
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, federal and state governments have pushed for emergency legislation allowing paid sick leave to those who may have contracted the virus.
- Colorado recently announced that they would provide four paid sick days for those who are being tested for coronavirus. However, this would apply only to service workers – those working in hospitality, food services, and care industries.
- Kentucky has introduced a bill, SB 282, which enables paid sick leave for certain individuals in an event of a state of emergency.
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is currently advocating for the passage of a federal bill that would enable provisions such as covered testing and paid sick leave for all those who may have contracted Coronavirus.
Although federal and local governments are quickly realizing the need for paid sick leave, the fact remains that the concept seems to be an incredibly unpopular idea to lawmakers across the country. In fact, it is noted that much of the legislation for paid sick leave is not a permanent change to federal and local laws, but only a temporary measure to prevent further spread of the disease. It remains to be seen whether Coronavirus will bring about more meaningful change to our employment laws – and work culture as a whole.