Rhode Island Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

On September 28, 2017, Rhode Island became the eighth state to pass a paid sick leave law.

On September 28, 2017, Rhode Island became the eighth state to pass a paid sick leave law. The law requires employers of a certain size to provide employees with a handful of paid sick leave days each year, to use for various health and caretaking reasons. The law takes effect on July 1, 2018. Here are some of the details:

  • Covered employers. Rhode Island’s paid sick leave law applies to employers with 18 or more employees.
  • Eligibility. All employees of a covered employer are eligible to accrue paid sick leave, including part-time employees. However, employers can institute a 90-day waiting period for new hires, during which the employee will accrue—but cannot use—paid sick leave.
  • Accrual. Employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked. Employers may cap sick leave as follows: 24 hours of leave in 2018, 32 hours of leave in 2019, and 40 hours of leave in 2020 and beyond.
  • Use of sick leave. Employees may use sick leave for a variety of reasons, including: to recover from an illness; to care for an ill family member; to deal with the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or when the employee’s place of business—or a child’s school or daycare—is shut down due to a public health emergency.
  • Definition of family member. Family member includes a parent, spouse, child, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, sibling, member of the employee’s household, and care recipient (someone for whom the employee is responsible for providing health and safety related care).
  • No payout on separation. Employers are not required to pay out accrued sick leave when an employee leaves the company.
  • Documentation. Employers can request documentation only when an employee has used sick leave for more than three consecutive days.

Rhode Island employers should review their sick leave policies and make sure they comply with the law’s new requirements.

Effective date: July 1, 2018