HR Alert

Rhode Island Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

Law Effective July 1, 2018

Rhode Island has passed a paid sick leave law, effective July 1, 2018. Highlights of the law are presented below.

Employees (of employers with 18 or more employees in Rhode Island) generally will accrue at least one hour of paid sick and safe leave time ("paid sick leave") for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 24 hours during calendar year 2018; 32 hours during calendar year 2019; and 40 hours per year beginning in 2020 (unless the employer chooses to provide a higher annual limit in both accrual and use).

Paid sick leave begins to accrue at the commencement of employment or July 1, 2018, whichever is later. An employer may provide all paid sick leave that an employee is expected to accrue in a year at the beginning of the year.

Carryover and Payment
Paid sick leave is generally carried over to the following calendar year. However, an employee's use of paid sick leave in each calendar year may not exceed 24 hours during calendar year 2018; 32 hours during calendar year 2019; and 40 hours per year beginning in 2020.

Alternatively, an employer may pay an employee for unused earned paid sick leave at the end of a year and provide the employee with an amount of paid sick leave that meets or exceeds the law's requirements that is available for immediate use at the beginning of the subsequent year.

However, the law does not require financial or other reimbursement upon the employee's termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment for accrued paid sick leave that has not been used.

Paid sick leave must be provided to care for (among other things) an employee's or family member's mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or time off needed when the employee or the employee's family member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Employers with Leave Policies
Any employer with a paid leave time off policy or paid sick and safe leave policy who makes available at least 24 hours during calendar year 2018; 32 hours during calendar year 2019; and 40 hours beginning in 2020--or any employer who offers unlimited paid time off or paid sick and safe time--is exempt from certain provisions (section: 28-57-5(a), (b), (c) and (e)) of the law.

Additionally, employers that provide certain amounts of leave per year (section: 28-57-4(b)) do not need to track accrual, allow any carry-over, or payout.

Additional information (e.g., notice requirements, certification, and rules for smaller employers) is available in the text of the law.

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