City Personnel Blog

Rhode Island Paid Sick Leave Law

May 31, 2018
Rhode Island's new paid sick leave law goes into effect July 1, 2018. Employers with 18 or more employees must provide paid sick leave. Below, we explain the rules for sick leave eligibility, accrual, use, and more.
Rhode Island Paid Sick Leave Law

Sick Leave Accrual and Entitlement

Qualifying employees begin to accrue paid sick leave on July 1, 2018, or the first day after they start employment if hired after July 1. Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked. Employers do have the option to frontload a lump sum of hours at the beginning of each month based upon average hours expected to work for that month or at the beginning of the calendar year.

The law permits businesses to cap the accrual of paid sick leave at 24 hours per 12-month period in 2018, 32 hours in 2019, and 40 hours in the years to follow.

The law allows employers to set a 90-day waiting period before newly hired employees can use leave.  Additionally, the law allows a restriction of 150 days of employment before a seasonal worker is entitled to use paid leave and 180 days of employment for temporary employees.

***Employers do not need to pay out any unused sick leave as cash upon termination. Employees must have their unused accrued hours reinstated if they are rehired within 135 days.


What are “approved uses”?

Employees can use the leave for their own health condition, physical or mental illness, or injury, preventative medical care, or that of the employee’s blood-related family member. Employees may use paid sick leave to seek medical attention, seek relocation, obtain victim services, or participate in legal action related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking involving the employee or family member.  Additionally, employees may use paid sick leave for the closure of the employee’s place of business, or child’s school or place of care, by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.


Employees may provide notice as soon as practicable. Businesses also may require the employee to certify that leave is for a qualifying purpose, but only if the employee requires more than three consecutive leave days. Businesses cannot require the certification to specify the nature of the medical issue necessitating the leave.


If You Have an Existing PTO Policy

If an employer currently has a policy that grants employees paid time off in a manner consistent with the new requirements, it need not provide additional paid leave. It will, however, need to confirm its policy to meet the requirements of this new law.

Source: Paylocity