Governor Gina Raimondo has signed a new bill into law that affects sick and safe leave requirements for Rhode Island Employers.
We expect many of you will have questions about how the law affects you specifically. Please read the following rundown of the requirements and let us know how we can help you further as you begin to prepare.
Employers with 18 or more employees are requried to provide up to 3 paid sick and safe leave days beginning with the 2018 calendar year, 4 days in the 2019 calendar year and 5 days in the 2020 calendar year.
Employers with fewer than 18 employees must still allow workers to take the equivalent sick and safe leave days without any adverse consequences, but they are not required to pay the employees for the time off.
This law takes effect as of January 1, 2018. Employers in the construction industry have until July 1, 2018 to comply.
The law allows employees to take time off for the following reasons:
- Employee’s diagnosis, medical care or treatment for injury or physical or mental illness as well as preventive care.
- Care of a family member for diagnosis, medical care or treatment for injury or physical or mental illness as well as preventive care.
- When business closes due to public health emergency or to care for child whose school or place of care closes due to public health emergency, or to care for oneself or a family member whose presence in community may jeopardize public health due to exposure to communicable disease whether they have the disease or not.
- When employee or family member is a victim or domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Employees begin to accrue sick time at the rate of one hour for every 35 hours worked. Exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours each week. Employees begin to accrue sick and safe leave on the day that their employment begins but employers can require a 90- day waiting period before the employee is allowed to use the leave. Temporary employees can have a 180- day waiting period and seasonal employees a 150- day waiting period.
Employers can require employees to use a minimum of 4 hours of sick and safe leave at a time. Unused sick and safe leave carries over from year to year but accrual does not exceed the number of days required under the law. If the employer renews all sick and safe leave at the beginning of each calendar year there will be no carry over.
Any unused leave does not have to be paid to the employee upon separation from employment but if the employee is reinstated within 135 days the unused sick leave previously earned is reinstated.
What are you doing to track accrued time? We are in this together and would love to hear about your experience: what is working and what could use improvement?
I’m sure that there will be many questions over the next few weeks and months as employers prepare for compliance with this new law. Please contact your WD & Associates Account Executive with questions and for further guidance.