The True Cost of a Remote Hire - Know the State Laws: Paid Sick Leave



Now that we’re a little over a month into 2021, most companies already have their plan in place for what working will look like for at least the next six months or so. For companies planning on remote or hybrid work models, their market of potential employees is much larger than those companies only working on-site. Hiring employees out of state gives you access to more talent than you otherwise would have, and taking advantage of geographic locations with typically lower costs of living is an added bonus. Keeping that in mind, there are more things than just salary you’ll want to consider when it comes to hiring state to state - in particular, overtime, paid sick leave, and general cost of living. These can help you figure out the true cost of an employee and help you put the best strategy for you and your organization. We’ll start this series below with some much needed insight into paid sick leave laws for anyone who is looking into remote hiring within your current workforce.


In an effort to help you do your homework, here’s a quick cheat sheet for paid sick leave laws state-by-state, as well as information about federal mandates regarding paid sick leave.


What is the federal law regarding paid sick leave?

Paid sick leave laws before and during the coronavirus pandemic are two different things. We’ll start with a crash course in the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. While there are no federal laws mandating paid sick leave for employees, FMLA does guarantee up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific medical situations for an employee or a member of the employee’s family (i.e. if an employee needs to act as a caretaker). Employees are eligible for FMLA if they’ve worked for their employer for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and if they work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.


Early on in the pandemic, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for employees who were actively affected by COVID-19 and a need to quarantine. While the FFCRA did expire on December 31, 2020, it’s important to keep this in mind, as the federal government could choose to extend it or use it as a blueprint for a new relief law.


One more thing to consider...

Certain cities in the U.S. have paid sick leave laws that differ from the states that they reside in. For example, Minnesota has no state paid sick leave laws (see below), but Minneapolis has its own laws that require employers to provide paid sick and safe time. Remember that you as the employer are held to the paid sick leave laws of the city or state that your remote employee resides in, so a bit of research is always a good idea.


States with No Paid Sick Leave Laws

A surprising number of states have no state laws enacted that require employers to provide sick leave to their employees. Of course, many employers choose to do this as part of a benefits package, and it’s definitely worth offering if you’re able to. Happy employees are productive employees.


Alabama

Alaska

Arkansas

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Mexico

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas Utah

Virginia

West Virginia

Wisconsin Wyoming


States with Laws Based on 40 Hours a Year

The most common type of state paid sick leave law is one based on forty hours a year. These states all have various rates of accrual, and all accrual formulas are based on a method of “Employees accrue # hour of paid sick leave for every # of hours worked.” While the specific accrual numbers vary (i.e. one hour for every 40 worked, one hour for every 30 worked, etc.), all of these states allow their employees to accrue a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.


Connecticut - Employees accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year and can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year.


Maine - Employees accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year and can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year.


Massachusetts - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can use up to 40 hours in a year, and the carryover policy depends on the method by which the employee accrues sick time (see hyperlink).


Michigan - Employees accrue one hour for every 35 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year and can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year.


New Jersey - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year and can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year.


Oregon - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year and can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year.


Rhode Island - Employees accrue one hour for every 35 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can carry over up to 40 hours to the next year and can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year.


Vermont - Employees accrue one hour for every 52 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours per year. Employees can use up to 40 hours in a calendar year, and the carryover policy depends on the method by which the employee accrues sick time (see hyperlink).


States with Paid Sick Leave Laws Based on Company Size

In some states, the amount of paid sick leave an employee accrues depends on the size of the company that they work for. As a general rule, companies with more employees are generally required to provide employees with more paid sick leave, but specifics for each state can be found in the links below.


Arizona - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. At companies with less than 15 employees, employees can accrue a maximum of 24 hours a year. At companies with 15 or more, employees, employees can accrue a maximum of 40 hours a year.


Colorado - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. As of January 1, 2021, at companies with 16 or more employees, employees can accrue a maximum of 48 hours a year. As of January 1, 2022, all employees at all companies can accrue a maximum of 48 hours a year, no matter the size of the company.


New York - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. At companies with 4 or less employees, employees can accrue a maximum of 40 hours of paid or unpaid leave (which depends on the company’s finances). At companies with between five and 99 employees, employees can accrue a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave. At companies with 100 or more employees, employees can accrue a maximum of 56 hours of paid sick leave.


States with Specific Paid Sick Leave Laws

A few states have very specific requirements and language in their laws regarding what employees can accrue, carry over, and use. These three states don’t fall into any particular category and are worth the extra study if you have employees working here.


California - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees can accrue and use a maximum of 24 hours per year, but employees can carry over up to 48 hours to the next year. California is also a state with a few cities that have differing paid sick leave laws.


Maryland - Employees accrue one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees can accrue a maximum of 40 hours a year and can accrue a maximum of 64 hours total overall at any given time.


Washington - Employees accrue one hour for every 40 hours with no yearly maximum. For employees who work full time, 40 hours a week, this averages out to approximately 6-7 days or 50 hours a year. Employees can carry over a maximum of 40 hours to the next year.


Hopefully, you’ve familiarized yourself with the paid sick leave laws in the state or states that you plan to hire in. Even if state law doesn’t require paid sick leave, consider offering it to your employees anyway; the best way to ensure an employee stays with your company is to give them benefits they never want to give up.


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