Making Sense of the July 1 Paid Sick Leave Laws

The number of paid sick leave laws for local areas and states around the country continue to grow.  If you have business operations in the areas listed below, plan to comply with the following new laws effective July 1, 2017:

  •  Arizona
  • Chicago, IL – Cook County
  • Georgia
  • Minneapolis, MN

Arizona

Earned Pay Sick Time Accrual

The state of Arizona now allows employees to accrue earned paid sick time. Earned paid sick time is time accrued by an employee that is compensated at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits, including healthcare benefits, as the employee normally earns during hours worked. Employees can begin accruing paid sick time at the commencement of employment or July 1, 2017, whichever is later. Employees may use earned paid sick time for themselves or for family members in the following circumstances:

  • Medical care or mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
  • A public health emergency; or
  • Absence due to domestic violence, sexual violence, abuse, or stalking.

Although small businesses are exempt from the minimum wage requirements, no employers are exempt from the earned paid sick time requirements. “Employer” is defined as any corporation, proprietorship, joint venture, limited liability company, trust, association, political subdivision of the state, individual or other entity directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee, but does not include employees of the state of Arizona or federal employees.

  • Employers with 15 or more employees: Employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. They are not entitled to accrue or use more than 40 hours of earned paid sick time per year unless the employer selects a higher limit.If the employer does not pay for unused earned paid sick time at the end of the year, an employee may carry over a maximum of 40 hours into the next year.
  • Employers with fewer than 15 employees: Employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. They are not entitled to accrue or use more than 24 hours of earned paid sick time per year, unless the employer sets a higher limit.If the employer does not pay for unused earned paid sick time at the end of the year, an employee may carry over a maximum of 24 hours into the next year.

See Arizona’s Proposition 206 and FAQs.

Chicago, IL – Cook County

Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance

Cook County’s Earned Sick Leave Ordinance requires employees who work at least 80 hours for an employer within any 120-day period to be eligible for earned sick leave. For every 40 hours an employee works, the employee earns a minimum of one hour of earned sick leave. Earned sick leave must begin to accrue either on the first calendar day after the commencement of the employee’s employment or on the effective day of this ordinance, July 1, 2017.

An employee may accrue up to 40 hours of earned sick leave within a 12-month accrual period. For any unused earned sick leave during this same period, an employee may carry over a maximum of 20 hours of accrued earned sick leave into the next accrual period.

An “employee” is defined as an individual permitted to work by an employer regardless of the number of persons the employer employs. An “employer” includes any individual, partnership, association, corporation, limited liability company, business trust, or any person or group of persons that gainfully employees at least one employee with a place of business within Cook County.

See Cook County Municipal Code Ordinance 16-4229

Georgia

Family Care Act

Georgia’s new Family Care Act allows employees to use sick leave for the care of immediate family members. Employees are individuals who work for salaries, wages, or other remuneration for an employer for at least 30 hours per week. An “employer” is defined as  any individual or entity that employs 25 or more employees. Immediate family members include an employee’s child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, parent, or any dependents shown on the employee’s most recent tax return.

The Family Care Act does not require employers to provide sick leave. This act applies in the instances where employers do provide sick leave and that sick leave has been earned.

See Senate Bill 201.

Minneapolis, MN

The City of Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance creates access to time off for employees across the city. Eligible employees include full and part-time staff, temporary employees, and paid interns who typically work at least 80 hours in a benefit year within the geographical boundaries of Minneapolis. An employee begins to accrue sick and safe time hours whenever the employee starts working. Sick and safe time accrues at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked with an accrual maximum of 48 hours per year.

Accrued and unused hours of sick and safe time do not automatically expire at the end of the benefit year unless an employer chooses to frontload sick and safe time hours. Employers must allow employees to carry over from year to year until an 80-hour maximum accrual cap is reached. This means in any given year an employee may not have more than 80 accrued hours of sick and safe time including the hours that were carried over from previous years and the hours accrued for the current year.

All employers must provide sick and safe time hours as follows:

  • Employers with 6 or more employees: Paid sick and safe time.
  • Employers with 5 or fewer employees: Sick and safe time, either paid or unpaid.

An employer may provide sick and safe time as unpaid during the first year of business operation (excludes adding new location in an existing business).

Read Sick and Safe Time Ordinance.

Next steps

If your organization is affected by the new leave laws, be sure to do the following:

  • Update your current company policies to reflect the state laws.
  • Communicate these changes to your employees.
  • Update all applicable posters for your state.

ThinkHR will continue to monitor developments relating to paid leave laws and provide updates when new information becomes available.