Sample Policy: Paid Sick and Safe Leave

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The following is adapted from a template sick and safe leave policy created by the Center for Law and Social Policy. For the original, click here.

Eligible employees are entitled to accrue up to ___ days of paid time off per year for the illness of the employee or a family member, or to help ensure the safety of the employee or a family member as provided below.

Employees begin to accrue leave under this policy at the start of employment and can use leave anytime thereafter.

One hour of paid sick or safe time accrues for each __ hours worked by the employee, up to a maximum of ___ days per year. All employees are eligible to accrue and use sick and safe time leave regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary workers, once they meet the eligibility requirements.

Sick or safe time can be used for:

  • The employee’s own illness, injury, or medical condition;
  • The employee’s need to obtain diagnosis or treatment or preventive care (i.e., doctor’s appointments);
  • The employee’s need to care for a family member for reasons covered by Nos. (1) and (2), above;
  • An absence resulting from the employee or a family member becoming a victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual abuse.

For more information about which absences qualify for sick or safe time leave, please contact ___________________________.

A “family member” includes:

  • A spouse, including a domestic partner;
  • Parents of a spouse;
  • Children (including foster children and grandchildren);
  • Spouses of children;
  • Parents;
  • Brothers and sisters;
  • Spouses of brothers and sisters;
  • A child who lives with an employee and for whom the employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility;
  • A person with whom the employee shares or has shared, for not less than the preceding 12 months, a mutual residence and with whom the employee maintains a committed relationship.

For more information about who counts as a “family member,” please contact ________. Sick or safe time leave under this policy carries over at the end of each calendar year. However, an employee cannot use, in any one calendar year, more than his/her maximum annual accrual of __ days. Sick or safe time leave is not paid out on termination of employment.

In the case of an unforeseen need to take leave, for example, the illness of an employee or his or her family member or in the case of an emergency, no written request for leave is required. Notice should be given as soon as possible, either prior to the start of the next work shift or within 24 hours of the onset of an emergency. If a request for leave is foreseeable, an employee should request the leave in writing stating a reason for the absence and its expected duration. This request should be made as early as possible or at least 10 days prior to the absence.

No documentation will be required before three consecutive days of absence. Employees who take sick or safe time leave for three or more consecutive days may be required to provide reasonable certification of the need for leave including, for example, a signed document from a health care professional. An employer may not require disclosure of information relating to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, or the details of an employee’s medical condition as a condition of providing paid sick and safe time leave. If an employer possesses such information, it shall be treated as confidential, as shall the employee’s request for paid sick and safe time leave.

When providing certification, no health care provider shall be required to provide information protected by the Social Security Act or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Employees will not face retaliation or reprisal for requesting or using leave or asserting rights under this policy.

The company will not interfere with, restrain, or deny an eligible employee’s right to request and use leave under this policy, attempt to request or use leave under this policy, or assert rights under this policy. Employees may raise concerns regarding this policy, including by opposing any unlawful practice or filing a charge or supporting an investigation, and seek redress for those concerns, without fear of discrimination or discharge. Any employee who believes he or she has been treated in violation of this paragraph should immediately inform the Human Resources department, his/her supervisor, or any other supervisor or manager.

(For employers with absence control policies: Consider revising your policy to reflect that sick or safe time leave does not count as an absence that may lead to or result in discipline, discharge, demotion, suspension, or any other adverse action, and that the use of paid sick and safe time leave will not count as a negative factor in hiring, evaluation or promotion.)

Please note that the information provided, while research-based, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from state or federal governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.