Rhode Island: Statewide Paid Sick Leave Begins July 1, 2018

APPLIES TO

All Employers with 18 or More RI Employees

EFFECTIVE

July 1, 2018

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Rhode Island joins a small but slowly expanding number of states requiring employers to provide their workforce with paid sick leave (“PSL”).  Effective July 1, 2018, the Health and Safe Families and Workplace Act (the “Act”) incorporates new time off, tracking, and documentation requirements for many Rhode Island employers.

  1. Eligibility:
    1. Covered Employee: All employees except for (1) individuals not considered employees under Rhode Island’s minimum wage act, such as outside salespeople; (2) independent contractors; (3) subcontractors; (4) federal work-study participants; and (5) licensed nurses employed on a per-diem basis.
    2. Employers: Any employer with 18 or more employees in Rhode Island.
  2. Usage: Most employees can begin using PSL after 90 days of employment, with varying restrictions for seasonal and temporary employees. PSL may be used as it is accrued.  PSL can be used in the lesser of hourly increments or the smallest increment the employer’s payroll system uses.
  3. Leave Amounts:
    1. Rate: One hour of PSL per 35 hours worked, beginning on the date of hire or pursuant to the Act’s effective date, whichever is later.
    2. Cap: Employees may earn and use up to 24 hours per year in 2018, 32 hours in 2019, and 40 hours in subsequent years.
    3. Carryover: Employees can carryover at most 56 hours of PSL from one year to the next.  Employers may also choose to pay an employee any accrued, unused PSL at the end of the year and then frontload the employee with a new bank of PSL sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act.
    4. Frontload: Employers may choose to frontload PSL at the beginning of the year, or provide monthly lump sums of leave.
    5. Rehire: Employees rehired within 135 days of their date of separation must be reinstated to their former balance of accrued, unused leave.
  4. Recordkeeping and Notice Requirements:
    1. Time of Hire Notice: Employers must provide employees with a written notice developed by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, which contains specified information about employees’ PSL entitlement.  This notice must be provided in English and in any primary language spoken by at least five percent of the workforce if the notice is translated into that language by the Department.  The notice is to be provided at the time of hire or by the effective date of the Act, whichever is later.
    2. Workplace Posting: Covered employers must conspicuously display a poster prepared by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training at each worksite.  The same language requirements as the Time of Hire notice also apply.
    3. Recordkeeping: Employers must track and retain records of hours worked and PSL accrued and used by employees for a three year period.
  5. Employee’s Notice: Employees are to make a good faith effort to provide notice of the need for sick leave.  Certification can be required after three consecutive days of absence for unforeseeable use of PSL.
    1. Notably, an employer that requires certification after the three consecutive days must have provided employees a written policy describing the procedure for employees to provide notice regarding leave. If this written policy is not provided, employers may not deny PSL usage or discipline employees for non-compliance with the above regulations.

Employers who already offer paid sick leave policies that meet the minimum requirements of the Act are not required to provide additional leave.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of the identical House and Senate bills that comprise the Act, House Bill 5413B and Senate Bill 0290B.
  2. Have a written paid sick leave policy prepared prior to the compliance date of July 1, 2018.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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