1. When does the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act take effect?
The new law takes effect on July 1, 2018. Eligible employees will begin to accrue time immediately.
2. What can earned sick and safe leave time be used for?
Employees can use sick and safe leave time if they are too sick to work, are injured or have a routine medical appointment. They may also use sick and safe leave to deal with the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. In addition, employees may use sick and safe leave to assist a family member or a member of their household for the same purposes.
3. Is it paid or unpaid?
Employers with 18 or more employees must provide paid sick and safe leave. Employers with 17 or fewer employees must provide earned sick and safe leave, but it does not need to be paid.
4. How much sick and safe leave can I earn?
Full time employees can earn and use up to 24 hours during 2018, 32 hours in 2019 and 40 hours per year thereafter. Once the annual accrual cap is reached, time ceases to accrue. Employers may choose to offer a higher annual accrual limit.
5. Do workers have to give notice before using sick and safe leave?
If the reason for leave is planned at least 24 hours in advance, the employee must provide notice to the employer. In instances of unforeseeable leave, such as emergencies, notice must be provided as soon as it is reasonable and in accordance with the employer's policies.
6. Can the employer ask for proof?
Employers can ask for documentation only in limited circumstances. For example, they can ask for a doctor’s note when the employee misses more than three consecutive workdays.
Employers are not allowed to ask for information about the illness or the details of the domestic violence.
Food employees and managers can be asked to provide documentation if the absence would trigger the employer’s obligations under the RI Food Code 216-RICR-50-10-1.
7. What if the employer offers other paid time off?
Employers may have their own sick leave policy or other paid time off policy that employees use as sick leave, as long as the policy provides the same benefits and protections that the law requires, or better. The Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act is not designed to add additional days to an existing leave policy that already meets the requirements.
8. How must employers notify workers?
Employers must post the Notice to All Employees - Information Employers Must Post poster in the workplace, which includes information on the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act. This poster is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Employers should include their sick time policy in any employee handbook or manual.
Employers may also post or distribute the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Fact Sheet.
10. How can I file a complaint?
Fill out a complaint form and mail it to RI DLT, Labor Standards Unit, Building 70-2, P.O. Box 20390, Cranston, RI 02920-0944.
DLT is an equal opportunity employer/program - auxiliary aids and services available upon request. TTY via RI Relay: 711