In today’s world of working from home and telecommuting employees often choose to work from home when they are feeling too sick to go into work or even when recovering from severe medical conditions. Often the question that comes up is whether or not an employer has to give its employees paid sick leave.
Legal Requirements Under Florida Law
There are no specific Florida laws that private businesses or employers have to give their employees paid sick leave. Nevertheless, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), there are some limited rights for unpaid sick leave. In accordance with FMLA, eligible employees are allowed to take a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month time period in cases where an employee requires time off to handle a serious medical condition, or if the employee needs time off to take care of a sick family member or newborn.
Although FMLA sick leave is unpaid, both the employee’s position and employment benefits are protected for the extent of their time off. In some situations, the employer is permitted to charge an employee’s accrued or untapped sick leave or personal time off while the employee is taking FMLA. In this case, the employee actually gets paid while on leave from their personal time off or sick leave benefits.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
Further, the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended under federal law, obligates the employer to take part in an interactive process in order to determine if employees can be accommodated for their accommodation requests. For instance, if an employee puts in a request to take additional time off from work for appointments with his or her doctor or else to telecommute to work. Whenever the employee is doing work for the employer, they are required to be paid. Whether or not the employee receives paid time off from work for a doctor’s appointment depends on if the employee is compensated via salaried or hourly.
In 2013, the legislature passed a law preventing political subdivision in Florida to necessitate employers to offer employment benefits that are not already provided under federal or state law. It is worth mentioning that although private employers are not required to provide paid sick days, most state and public employees are entitled to such a right.
Let Us Help You Today
Although private employers in Florida are not obligated to provide sick leave, a majority of employers still provide it as a benefit to remain competitive. It is crucial for all employers to review their employee handbooks and all other related documents. The Employer should make certain not to obligate themselves to pay more than able to handle.
The employer’s sick leave policies should always address a number of items, such as whether or not leave is accrued. Our lawyers can help your business establish a proper and efficient sick leave policy.
It is vital to hire a law firm that focuses on handling employment and labor related cases. The West Palm Beach labor and employment lawyers at Pincus & Currier LLP have over 100 years advising and serving the specialized legal needs of businesses throughout Florida. If you would like experienced legal advice, contact us online or call our office today at 561-868-1340 to discover more about your company’s sick leave policies.