In addition to the minimum requirements of the paid sick leave law, employers can provide optional programs to augment or even replace parts of a basic paid sick leave program. Any use of these optional programs must also meet the minimum requirements of the paid sick leave law. Employers are required to have a written paid sick leave policy before implementing any of these optional programs.
Paid time off (PTO) programs
PTO programs combine an employee’s paid sick leave, vacation time, and other leave into a single pool of paid time off. This combined time off can typically be used for any reason allowed by the employer, but must also be available to be used as paid sick leave if the employer wants the PTO program to cover the paid sick leave law’s minimum requirements.
If you offer a PTO program to meet the state’s paid sick leave requirements, you must have the same minimum accrual rate, normal hourly compensation, carryover, notification, and access requirements as those outlined on this page. You must include such PTO program in your written paid sick leave policy.
- If an employee uses their PTO for vacation or other leave and not for sick leave, and requests additional paid sick leave time after they have used all of their accrued PTO, employers are not required to provide any additional PTO to cover their request as long as their PTO program meets the minimum paid sick leave requirements.
You may frontload or provide employees access to their paid sick leave before they accrue it if you include it in your written paid sick leave policy. With frontloaded paid sick leave, you should project how many hours the employee would normally accrue during the period of time you are frontloading.
Here are some examples of frontloading:
- You can provide the paid sick leave hours your employees would normally accrue a month in advance at the beginning of the month.
- You can provide employees one full day of paid sick leave when they start working for your company.
Keep in mind that a full-time employee would typically accrue one day of paid sick leave every eight weeks at the minimum accrual rate. A part-time employee working 20 hours a week would take nearly four months to accrue one day of paid sick leave. By frontloading, your employees can access paid sick leave that they have not accrued yet.
Shared sick leave
You may provide employees the ability to share their sick leave with other employees. To offer this benefit, you must include it in your written paid sick leave policy. This policy allows employees to donate or receive accrued or even frontloaded paid sick leave from their coworkers.