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Employment Law -- Employee

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Does The Law Guarantee Paid Time Off?

There is no federal law that guarantees paid time off from work. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees unpaid leave due to illness or to care for a family member.

If your employer offers paid time off, such as sick days or vacation days, they are allowed to require you to use those paid days during an FMLA leave period.

When paid leave is substituted for unpaid FMLA leave, it may be counted against the 12­week FMLA leave entitlement if your employer properly notifies you when your leave begins.

That means if you take six weeks of leave and your employer offers paid days off, you will likely have no more paid days at the end of your leave period to use on a vacation or sick day for the rest of the year.

States With Paid Leave

While there is no federal guarantee of paid time off, states are beginning to take action. The following states have some form of paid time off guarantee:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

However, in some of these states, the full benefits of their laws have yet to take effect. If you live in one of these states, it may be worth consulting with an employment lawyer if you are unsure of the law’s benefits or if you think your employer is taking advantage of your rights.