Over the last 10 years, more than 30 state and local laws have been enacted mandating that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees.* Most recently, the cities of Berkeley, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Morristown, St. Paul and San Diego enacted paid sick leave ordinances, while voters in San Francisco amended the nation’s first paid sick leave law to better align the ordinance with California’s paid sick leave law.

Berkeley’s ordinance creates a two-tiered system for large and small employers. Starting October 1, 2017, the ordinance requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year, while employers with fewer than 25 employees must provide up to 48 hours. Under Los Angeles’ ordinance, employers with more than 25 employees must provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per year beginning July 1, 2016 (July 1, 2017, for employers with 25 or fewer employees). San Diego’s ordinance requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The San Diego City Council subsequently enacted an implementing ordinance modifying substantive portions of the new law. The paid sick leave ordinance went into effect on July 11 and the related implementing ordinance took effect September 2.

Chicago’s ordinance requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, while the Minnesota cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul mandate up to 48 hours. Chicago and Minneapolis are the first cities in their respective states to enact a paid sick leave ordinance, followed shortly thereafter by St. Paul. All of these laws are effective July 1, 2017 (January 1, 2018, for employers with fewer than 24 employees in St Paul).

Morristown has joined the growing list of jurisdictions in New Jersey — it’s now 13 — that require paid sick leave. For the most part, Morristown’s new ordinance follows the language in the other New Jersey ordinances.

In response to this growing trend, 14 states have enacted statewide bans on paid sick leave mandates, including Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee. Additionally, Wisconsin bars cities, villages and counties from enacting family and medical leave rules that differ from state standards, which effectively eliminated Milwaukee’s paid sick leave ordinance. Oregon bans localities from passing their own paid sick leave laws simply to ensure consistency under the statewide mandate.

Click for larger image and complete list of jurisdictions

Towers Watson Media

Covered employers in states and localities with paid sick leave laws should review their leave policies to ensure that they comply with all legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which they operate — such as eligibility, amount of leave and carryover. Additionally, employers should modify administration to reflect any specific employee notice, poster, pay stub or record maintenance requirements.

The proliferation of these laws and the variation in requirements from jurisdiction to jurisdiction are making the administration of leave programs increasingly complex for multistate employers. To address this compliance challenge, such employers may wish to consider a uniform policy that is sufficiently generous to satisfy all requirements of the laws in the jurisdictions in which they operate as a way to streamline administration.


* See “Vermont becomes fifth state to enact paid sick leave law,” Willis Towers Watson Insider, June 2016; “Oregon Becomes Fourth State to Enact Paid Sick Leave Law,” Willis Towers Watson Insider, October 2015; “Paid Sick Leave Laws Gain Momentum, White House Urges Federal Mandate,” Willis Towers Watson Insider, April 2015; and “Paid Sick Leave Laws: A Growing Trend Across the U.S.,” Willis Towers Watson Insider, April 2014.