Leaves of Absence FAQ - HR Services | Audax HR Services

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employer Resource Toolkit

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Leaves of Absence - FAQ

Q: How long do I have to hold a job for an employee who is out due to a Workers’ Compensation injury?

A: There is no easy answer for this as it depends on state regulations. In some states, an injured worker has re-instatement rights for three years after the date of injury. Holding a job also depends on a number of items, including the individual’s ability to return to regular and/or modified work, and the employee’s timely request to return to work. Keep in mind that an employee may also be covered by FMLA or other state job-protected leaves and/or ADA. Check your state regulations.

Q: What leaves are employees entitled to and what are the requirements?

A: Employers can provide vacation, bereavement, and personal leaves of absence at their discretion; they are not required to provide these, paid or unpaid. Some states do require paid leave for jury duty and for voting time. Some states and municipalities do require paid sick leave.

There are two main federal leave laws: the federal Family/Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Uniformed Service and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Under FMLA, employees are entitled to twelve weeks of unpaid leave if they have worked 1,250 hours in a twelve-month period for an employer that has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. Employees may take this leave for the birth or adoption of the employee’s child, to care for a family member with a serious health condition; and, the employee’s own serious health condition. Additional qualifying events for FMLA include military exigencies and to care for a covered service member who is a next of kin. Under USERRA, any employee called to military duty, whether voluntary or involuntary including training, has re-employment rights when they return from the service, regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer and the size of the employer.

There are additional state leave laws that may or may not entitle the employee to more job-protected time off and may include crime victims, domestic violence and State Family Medical Leave which is similar to FMLA. Washington also has job-protected leave for victims of domestic violence, employees who serve as volunteer emergency personnel, and the Family Leave Act (FLA) (which mirrors the federal FMLA) Consult your state Department of Labor for state specific regulations.

More details regarding many of these leaves are available in the HR Answers’ Resource Guides and at the following Department of Labor websites: https://www.dol.gov/elaws/userra.htm and https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/ There are posting requirements for FMLA, USERRA, and many of the state and local leaves.

​Q: What is an employer’s responsibility for Jury Duty?

A: When an employee receives a subpoena for jury duty, an employer may not interfere with the employee’s obligation to serve. The employee may ask to have the service postponed or dismissed. Employers are required to hold the employee’s job for the length of the subpoena. In general, non-exempt employees do not have to be paid by the employer for jury duty time. There are some exceptions where jurisdictions do require payment by employers, Colorado and the District of Columbia for example. To remain exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, exempt employees must be paid their full wage for any week they perform work, this includes weeks when time is missed due to jury duty. Exempt employees do not need to be paid in any workweek that no work is performed for the employer.

​There is no State law in Florida that requires employers to pay jurors while they are serving on jury duty. Additionally, many of the larger employers (FP&L, BellSouth, Postal Service, Publix, etc.) do voluntarily pay their employees, but it is not required and it varies from employer to employer.

​Q: Does an employer have to offer sick leave to employees working in Florida?

A: There is no Florida law that requires private sector employers to provide employees sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as a popular employee benefit. It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may create a legal obligation to grant it. Other states have passed laws that require employers to grant sick leave

Q: What are the states that require employers to pay sick leave?

A: Ten states and Washington D.C. currently require paid sick leave.

​Connecticut was the first state to require private sector employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, with a law enacted in 2011. California became the second state to enact paid sick requirements, with the passage of the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014. Massachusetts was the third state to require paid sick leave, as voters there approved the Earned Sick Time for Employees ballot measure during the 2014 general election. The Oregon Legislature enacted a law during the 2015 session, and the Vermont Legislature did so during the 2016 session.

​During the 2016 general election, voters in Arizona and Washington approved ballot measures requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. The Rhode Island Legislature was the only state to pass a paid sick leave law in 2017, which will take effect in 2018. The Maryland Legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto of paid sick leave legislation in January 2018; the law took effect the next month. New Jersey enacted a mandatory paid sick leave law on May 2, 2018, which will go into effect October 29, 2018.

​There are no federal laws that require employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees.

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