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House and Senate Pass Paid Sick Leave in RI

September 26, 2017

RI workers will see a change in how time out of work for sickness and other ailments will be treated. Read more about the House and Senate bill.

The ocean state just passed a bill to mandate paid sick leave which is fully expected to be signed into law shortly.. This means workers who call in sick, due to being sick themselves, or having a sick family member they need to tend to, will be able to be paid for this unavoidable work absence.

The House and Senate Compromised Bill

Both the Senate and the House had ideas for the bill. The Senate passed theirs Wednesday, and the House, Thursday. After careful deliberation, they reached a compromise agreement.

Under the revised bill.....

  • Employees of businesses with 18 or more employees would be able to earn 3 days of paid sick time in 2018, 4 days in 2019 and 5 days in 2020.
  • Employees have to provide notice when they take paid sick leave.
  • Written documentation is only required after 3 consecutive days, unless required sooner by the Health Code.
  • Shift Swapping is allowed (one worker switches shifts with another worker)
  • Employers that provide 40 hours or more of paid time off (including vacation time) are not required to provide additional sick time as long as the employment policy allows the paid time off to be used as sick time.
  • Unused time can be carried over to the following year up to the day limits above.
  • Employers with less than 18 employees can’t terminate someone for using unpaid sick time not to exceed 3 days in 2018, 4 days in 2019, 5 days in 2020.

Important timing matters.....

  • Employees start accruing sick time on the first day of employment (1 hour accrued for every 35 hours worked) but can’t use it for the first 90 days of employment.
  • To calculate the accrued time, there is an alternative schedule based on average weekly hours worked which can be used and doesn’t require tracking cumulative hours.
  • Seasonal employees who work less than 6 months can’t use sick time until the150th day of employment.
  • Temporary employees (through a temp agency) can’t use sick time until the180th day of employment.
  • Employees who leave employment and come back later than 135 days don’t keep their previously accrued sick time.
  • Increments of leave time are set by the employer, but can’t be more than 4 hour blocks

Effective date for 2018

Starting July 1, 2018, employers must comply with the new paid sick leave rules. This give businesses approximately nine months to prepare and update their employee manuals.
Governor Raimondo is expected to sign the bill into law very soon. Stay tuned for updates next year on how this legislation fares in its beginning stages.

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