KEEPING IN TIME WITH THE LAW
DO’S AND DON’TS
While your company may feel like its own municipality, it still has to follow the
law. For example, there are eight states and 32 jurisdictions with paid-sick-leave laws in place. Here are do’s and don’ts for staying in compliance.
DO identify any requirements regarding how sick time is tracked.
Elisabeth Giammona, SHRM-CP, senior HR manager with an e-mail security
startup in San Francisco, recommends asking questions such as:
ā Does such time need to be accrued, or can it be given all at once at
the beginning of the year?
ā Are there restrictions regarding how much can be used at once?
ā Are there limitations on whether it can be rolled over?
DON’T forget to find out who’s covered. Under paid-sick-leave laws,
employers must permit employees to use the leave not only for their own
illnesses but also for those of covered family members, says Marjory
Robertson, assistant vice president and senior counsel with Sun Life Financial.
The time can also be applied to routine medical appointments for either
the employee or a family member. “Many of these state and local laws broaden the definition of covered family members beyond what the [federal Family
and Medical Leave Act] requires—parent, child, spouse—to include grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws and siblings,” Robertson says.
DO consider the impact of changing paid-family-leave laws. California,
New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota and the District of Columbia have
paid-family-leave legislation, as do San Francisco and Montgomery County, Md.
DON’T neglect federal legislation. For example, many people may not
realize that the tax reform bill that was passed in December contains a paid
family and medical leave provision, Robertson says. “It does not mandate that
employers provide paid family and medical leave,” she explains, “but creates
a tax credit for employers who provided between two and 12 weeks of paid
family and medical leave that provides at least a 50 percent wage replace-
As a result of the shifting legislative landscape, employers of all sizes will
be looking to adapt and expand their paid-time-off benefits in the near future,
decide how much time they can take
while still getting their jobs done. Here
are several other approaches that progressive leaders are trying.
COMBINED PTO BANKS
A growing number of employers are
switching to paid-time-off (PTO)
banks that don’t diferentiate between
sick leave and vacation time. Data
tracked by consulting frm Mercer’s annual Survey on Absence and Disability
Management, a poll of more than 450
U. S. employers, found strong growth in
PTO banks— 63 percent of employers
used them in 2015, up from 38 percent
At the same time, new state and local
laws governing sick leave could put a
cap on the growth of P TO banks. California and New York City, for example,
have legislation requiring employers
to provide employees with a certain
amount of paid sick leave.
“I think we will see PTO bank use
leveling of a bit based on what happens at the state and local levels,” says
Rich Fuerstenberg, senior partner with
Mercer in Princeton, N. J. Such laws do
not preclude the use of P TO banks, but
they do make their administration a bit
The benefts can be attractive, however: 54 percent of employers that implemented a combined P TO program
said unscheduled absences dropped
by up to 10 percent when they started
the new policy, according to a survey
by the Alexander Hamilton Institute.
Four percent found that those absences
dropped by more than 20 percent.
Source: Robert Half 2017 survey.
by their boss