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These 5 States Guarantee Paid Sick Leave. Is Yours on the List?

Updated May 27, 2016
by Dana Sitar
Contributor

We will periodically update this post to reflect current laws.

Does your company offer paid sick leave?

It may be ahead of the curve if it does, as the fight to increase paid time off in the U.S. rages on.

A 10-year lobbying effort paid off in Vermont yesterday when Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a law requiring employers in the state to provide paid sick days.

Why Vermont Wants You to Get Paid When You’re Sick

Advocates consider the law a boost not only to individual employee benefits, but also to workplace and employee health as a whole.

“When Vermonters do not have access to paid sick leave, they often go to work anyway, putting the health of other workers, the workplace and all of us at risk,” Shumlin told WPTZ.

The Vermont law goes into effect in January 2017.

It will require companies, regardless of size, to offer three paid sick days to all part- and full-time employees, excluding temporary workers and those under 18 years old.

Starting in 2019, the mandate will increase to five paid sick days.

Most companies already provide a benefit at least as generous as this law requires and will be unaffected, reports WPTZ.

Do You Get Paid Sick Leave?

Vermont is the fifth U.S. state to pass a law like this.

Over the past three years, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon have each started requiring companies to offer paid sick leave.

Maryland and Washington have similar bills pending.

In addition, these cities have passed ordinances regarding paid sick leave:

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • New York, New York
  • Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane, Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

If you work for a company that doesn’t clearly advertise its employee benefits, check into your state or city’s laws. You might be eligible for paid time off you weren’t aware of!

Parental Leave Advocates Celebrate

Advocates for increasing mandated paid parental leave in the U.S. consider these laws a win, as well.

Sharon Block, principal deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor, said of the Vermont law, “This new law is for the mom who has to decide if her son’s fever is too high that she should take the day off to care for him at home, or whether it’s better to keep that paycheck, put him on the bus and hope for the best.”

President Obama agrees.

“This action means thousands of families will no longer have to choose between losing income and taking care of a sick child,” he said in a statement released by the White House.

Your Turn: Does your city or state mandate paid sick leave? Should all states have similar requirements?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).

by Dana Sitar
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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