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Employers in all states are not required to provide paid vacation to their employees. In most states, employers are not required to provide paid sick leave either. However, a growing number of states and cities are considering and passing paid sick leave laws. Currently, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and a handful of cities require employers to provide some form of paid sick leave. (For more details on these requirements, see our employment legal update page).
Many employers choose to offer some form of paid sick leave, even when not to required by law. A generous leave policy can help employers attract high-quality employees and improve office productivity and morale. If you decide to adopt a policy that gives your employees paid vacation or sick time, be sure to apply the policy consistently to all of your employees. If some employees receive a more attractive package than others, and it appears that you're singling out a protected class for less favorable treatment, you might have a discrimination claim on your hands.
For more information on paid time off, see Nolo's article Providing Vacation and Sick Leave.