Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, showing up to work with a temperature or cough is no longer a sign of dedication. In fact, such behavior could kill your staff and customers.

American work culture has long taken pride in the habit of muscling through the common cold. Today, a sneeze will draw suspicious and angry stares, especially if you’re not wearing a mask.

Paid sick leave is expected in many work circles and here at GroupOne Background Screening, we provide it. But did you know nearly 25% of U.S. employees have no access to any form of paid leave? Combine this with a job that cannot be performed remotely, and you have a perilous quandary. Go without pay or potentially make your co-workers and customers sick? There’s no easy solution.

Since the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, there have been numerous attempts to add a paid leave component. So far, none of these attempts have succeeded. Then COVID-19 rolls across the U.S. like a tsunami, and all rules change.

With the March 18, 2020 passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), paid sick leave was mandated along with a tax credit to make it more acceptable for employers.

Prior to the pandemic, many cities and states across the U.S. were pushing for paid sick leave. For the past four years, Los Angeles employers have had to provide their staff with one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. In 2022, all Colorado employers will be required to provide employees up to 48 hours of paid sick leave per year. The leave can be used for employees to obtain treatment for their own health as well as the health of family members. Employees may also rely on the leave for assistance in recovering from domestic abuse, sexual assault or harassment.

New York employers must now provide paid sick leave in an amount determined by company size. Businesses with at least 100 employees must provide 56 hours of paid leave per year, while businesses with five-99 employees must only provide 40 hours.

Several states that require paid leave based on size do not permit the company to exclude any employees working outside the state. New York’s paid leave law covers all employees physically working within the state regardless of whether their employer maintains the majority of its staff in another state.

During this era of remote work where employees are scattered about in various locations and states, it is important to ensure your business is operating in compliance with state laws.

At the moment, there is no sign of a permanent federal mandate to provide paid sick leave. But more than a dozen states now require some form of paid leave including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.

This growing trend is expected to continue.

Today, the average cost of providing paid sick leave is only 45 cents per employee hour worked. Following the pandemic, employers may find this a small price to pay if it means workforce safety and positive employee morale.

The information and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only and are based on current practice, industry related knowledge and business expertise. The information provided shall not be construed as legal advice, express or implied.