Q: We have employees in both California and Massachusetts. What guidance can you provide on meeting state-specific regulations under one sick leave policy?
A: As with other state-specific laws that differ from state to state, you may — as long as compliant in all states — offer a paid sick leave policy based on the most employee-generous state law. If you choose to do this, the policy must be carefully crafted in accordance with accrual, use, and cap provisions for each state. In California, for instance, some cities have their own sick leave provisions (San Francisco and Oakland, for example). The guidance, at this time, for employers with employees in those cities is to use a combination of the city ordinance and state law to create a policy that is most generous to the employee.
Many employers are modifying sick leave policies to comply with changing state laws and city ordinances. Companies with unlimited PTO policies now find that they must create sick leave policies that are separate and traceable. While employers may be able to maintain their unlimited PTO policies, they may need to create sick leave policies that offer at least the minimum sick pay accruals to all employees. Leave laws continue to evolve and it’s always a best practice to consult with your counsel to stay current with leave law changes and ensure your company policies remain up-to-date.
ThinkHR customers can consult a regularly-updated Paid Sick Leave by State and Locality chart, located in the White Papers section of Comply, to make sure their sick time policies are compliant wherever they have employees. The ThinkHR Employee Handbook Builder also includes the ability to include policies specific to multiple states.