Now that the end of the year craziness has faded, the first quarter is a good time to review company policies. Given the abundance of legislative changes that are occurring around the nation regarding paid sick leave, reevaluating paid time off (PTO) polices is a great place to start.
Below is a quick Q&A that explores the differences between mandated paid sick leave and traditional PTO policies as well as identifies the states and jurisdictions who have already passed related legislation.
How Does PTO Differ from Mandated Paid Sick Leave?
Many employers already have PTO policies in place as part of their employee benefit packages. Typically PTO policies pool all of an employee's available leave into one pot, whether it is sick, personal, or vacation leave.
Mandated paid sick leave policies are independent of any benefit packages offered by the employer. In states and jurisdictions requiring paid sick leave, employer-issued PTO policies should meet the minimum paid sick leave requirements.
What If I Already Have a PTO Policy in Place?
If your company's existing PTO policy allows for the same accrual, carry over, and usage of paid sick leave, then additional compensated hours and changes to the policy are generally not required. Otherwise, you should update your PTO policy to reflect the mandated paid sick leave requirements.
Much of the legislation also requires that employers maintain records of accrued/used paid sick leave for three or more years. Employers may also be required to provide employees with a balance of their accrued/used paid sick leave at their request. Please be sure to check the legislation pertaining to your state or jurisdiction so that you can put HR systems in place and remain fully compliant.
What if I Don't Comply?
Failure to comply with legislation may result in fines and penalties.