Leave Laws


Leave laws govern whether an employer must allow employees to take time off, either paid or unpaid, under a number of different circumstances. They also address whether an employer must pay accrued leave to employees upon separation from employment.

Employers are not required by either federal or state law to provide various types of leave to employees, although there are some exceptions. Examples of this type of leave are vacation leave, general sick leave, bereavement leave, and holiday leave. Although employers may not be required to provide such fringe benefits, they may be legally obligated to comply with any policies or practices that grant leave benefit, either paid or unpaid, to employees. Moreover, some states require employers to pay employees accrued leave benefits, particularly accrued vacation leave, if they choose to provide the benefit to their employees, even if their policies do not require that such payments be made. Employers would be required to provide leave benefits contained in employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements.



Other types of leave, such as jury duty leave and voting leave, are legally guaranteed by a large number states. In some instances, an employer is not only required to provide employees the leave, but must also pay the employee for their time off. An employer may also be prohibited from requiring employees from taking paid vacation or sick leave as a substitute for other types of leave, such as jury duty leave and voting leave.

Federal law and the laws of several states require an employer to provide employees leave due to family and/or medical needs. The most prominent of the federal laws requiring family and medical leave is the Family and Medical Leave Act (Act). Many states have medical and/or family leave laws similar to those of the federal government. A small number of states have enacted laws requiring employers to provide parental leave, which permits employees to attend to the needs of children. such as doctors appointments or school functions.

Employers may be required to provide leave to employees with military obligations pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Types of Leave Laws currently addressed on EmploymentLawHandbook.com: