Paid Vacation, Holiday, and Sick Leave Lawyers
Contrary to popular belief, employers are not legally obligated to pay for vacation, holiday or sick leave to their employees, under the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. This type of pay is given at the discretion of employers.
Most often, employers do offer paid vacation, holiday and sick leave policies to attract and retain valuable employees in a competitive job market.
If Employers Do Offer Paid Vacation, Holiday, and Sick Leave, What Kinds of Guidelines Should Be Established?
Employers that choose to offer paid vacation, holiday and sick leave should form policies that meet their staffing needs. These policies should be clearly stated to employees, and in most instances, be outlined in the employees' handbook. Employers should include provisions that:
Apply the policies consistently to all employees (to prevent unfair treatment)
Require employees to schedule leave in advance (if possible) by setting a fixed time fame which would allow employers to meet temporary staffing needs
Adopt a sensible vacation time accrual policy to allow employees to take longer vacations, but with a reasonable cap
Discourage misuse of sick leave
In addition, some states require employers to pay out unused vacation leave to departing employees. These states include
Are There Any Exemptions When Employers Do Not Have To Pay For Vacations, Holidays, or Sick Leave?
There are certain exemptions in the policy, all of them revolving around civil duty or rights. Note that while employers are required to allow employees to leave to perform these duties or exercise these rights, the question of payment for these exemptions exists on a state by state basis. Check your state for the applicable laws on:
- Jury Duty
- Military Leave
Are There Any Places With Mandatory Sick Leave Payments?
In the United States, there are currently three jurisdictions (areas) which have mandatory sick leave payments. Workers may use paid sick time to recover from sickness, care for a sick child, partner, designated loved one, or to visit a physician.
Employers are currently obligated to pay for employee sick leave in:
- The City of San Francisco, as of 2006.
- The District of Colombia, as of 2008.
- The State of Connecticut, as of 2012.
Do Employers Have to Accommodate an Employee’s Religious Holiday?
Since religion is included in the list of employee characteristics employers cannot discriminate against, employers generally have to accommodate an employee’s religious holiday unless it can be shown that the “holiday” is not religious in nature or that accommodation of such a holiday would place an undue burden on the employer’s business. These religious holidays, however, do not have to be paid holidays.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I Am an Employer?
An employer can potentially be liable for many things and an employment lawyer can help protect your business and the wages employees are entitled to by advising you of the laws in your state.
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Last Modified: 09-13-2012 02:57 PM PDT