What is Sick Leave?
Sick leave refers to paid sick days off of work. Workers can apply for sick leave through their employer. Currently, there is no federal law that requires employers to have sick leave.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies with over 50 employees must give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Employees must work a certain amount of accumulative time to qualify.
This time can be used to recover from an illness or to care for an ill family member. This still leaves many part-time workers, contractors, and those with multiple jobs unprotected.
States With Sick Leave
Many states have attempted to pass paid sick leave laws, but have since denied those legislations and bills. The following 10 states do have sick leave:
- District of Columbia
- Rhode Island
These states require employers to provide some form of sick leave. Both California and Washington have state-provided sick and parental leave for workers. Be sure to check your state’s laws on sick leave, as some states have minimum employee requirements to provide sick leave.
Going to Work Sick
Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asks workers and children to stay home if they are sick to prevent the spread of any illnesses. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also requires that any workers with non-viral illnesses refrain from working until symptoms have subsided. However, 68 percent of workers still go to work sick because they cannot afford to lose pay, therefore putting other workers at risk of contracting an illness.
Research shows that children recover faster when a parent is available to care for them. Other research shows that parents are more likely to take time off to care for their children if they do have access to paid sick leave. It’s important for you to take the time off you’re entitled to.
Having paid sick leave will not only prevent the spread of any illnesses and diseases but will also ensure that employees are at their most productive, especially in high-risk occupations such as construction or healthcare.
Take Legal Action
Check your state laws on what employers are responsible for. If you work for a company that meets the Family and Medical Leave Act requirements, call an employment lawyer to know what kind of options you have.
Also Read: Unlawful Termination: Can You Sue Your Boss?