Paid sick leave laws; where they exist and what they require small businesses to do

Paid sick leave laws are slowly gaining acceptance in cities in the Northeast and on the West Coast. The laws have been enacted in seven cities and the state of Connecticut. Although there are variations among the laws, they generally require employers to give employees as much as five days of sick time, accrued at the rate of one hour for every 30 or 40 hours worked. Workers can also use the time to care for sick children or relatives.

Whether a company must provide sick days depends on their location. In Newark, N.J., all companies must offer sick time. In Connecticut, only those with 50 workers or more must comply.


San Francisco — Feb. 5, 2007

Washington, D.C. — May 13, 2008

Connecticut — Jan. 1, 2012

Seattle — Sept. 1, 2012

Portland, Ore. — Jan. 1, 2014

Jersey City, N.J. — Jan. 24, 2014

New York City — April 1, 2014

Newark, N.J. — May 29, 2014


Campaigns are underway in a number of states and cities to get sick leave laws passed. Those that look most likely to succeed are in Massachusetts; Vermont; Chicago; Tacoma, Wash; and Eugene, Ore., says Ellen Bravo, director of Family Values at Work Consortium, a group supporting paid sick leave legislation.