In Alabama, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation leave, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide vacation leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Co. v. Hilson, 669 So.2d 832 (Ala. Sup. Ct. 1995); ISS International Service Systems v. Alabama Motor Express, 686 So.2d 1184 (Ala. App. 1996).
An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment, whether by quit, discharge, or layoff.
An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See ISS International Service Systems v. Alabama Motor Express, 686 So.2d 1184 (Ala. App. 1996).
An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Co. v. Hilson, 669 So.2d 832 (Ala. Sup. Ct. 1995); ISS International Service Systems v. Alabama Motor Express, 686 So.2d 1184 (Ala. App. 1996).
Alabama law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. An employer is not required by Alabama law to pay accrued sick leave benefits to employees upon separation from employment.
An employer in Alabama may be required to provide an employee unpaid long-term sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act as discussed below.
Alabama law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Alabama, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as one and a half (1½) times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Alabama State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Alabama as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
Alabama requires employers to grant paid leave to employees who are summoned for and participate in jury duty.
For the employee to be eligible for leave related to jury duty, the employee must show his or her employer the jury summons on the next day he or she is at work after receiving the summons. The employer must grant paid leave to the employee for the time required by the summons or required by any subsequent jury duty.
An employer cannot require or request an employee use annual, vacation, unpaid or sick leave for time spent complying with the jury summons or serving on a jury.
A court must automatically postpone or reschedule the jury duty of a summoned juror who is an employee of an employer with five or fewer full-time employees if another employee of the employer has been summoned to appear during the same period.
An employer may not discharge or take any other adverse employment action against an employee who is serving on a jury, so long as the employee returns to work on the next regular workday after being dismissed from jury duty.
Alabama law requires employers to grant employees up to one hour of unpaid leave to vote in any election. To be eligible for voting leave, an employee must be registered to vote and must make a reasonable request for the leave from his or her employer. An employer is exempt from the leave requirement if the polls open two hours before an employee’s work begins or remain open one hour after an employee’s work ends. If an employer is required to provide an employee time off to vote, it may specify the hours in which the employee may be absent. AL Statute 17-1-5
Alabama law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family and Medical Leave
Alabama labor laws to do provide employees with family or medical leave. Alabama employees are entitled to family medical leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Employees are entitled to 12 unpaid weeks of medical leave under the FMLA within 12 months. This leave period will renew every 12 months if employees continue to meet specific eligibility criteria:
- Employees have worked for their company for one year
- Employees have worked at least 1250 hours the previous year
- Employees work at a location with 50+ staff members within 75 miles
There are multiple reasons why employees may consider taking leave under FMLA, including:
- Bonding with a child
- Caring for a family member with a severe ailment
- Recuperating from a serious ailment
- Dealing with extenuating circumstances spanning from an ill family member
- Caring for a sick or injured military family member
If an employee is caring for an ill or injured military family member, the leave is 26 weeks per 12 months. This allotment is available per service member per injury. Also, the employee may not take additional leave for the same reason.
Upon returning to the workplace, an employer must provide the employee with the same (or comparable) position. Employees are also entitled to their health insurance plan while on leave and may simultaneously use their accrued paid leave.
Currently, Alabama doesn’t have specific state laws about family medical leave. Private employers can create individualized policies to provide their employees with medical leave. Any agreements and terms laid out in employment contracts must be followed by employers.
Other employers might provide leave without pay. However, all parents are covered by the federal Family Medical Leave Act for parental leave.
Employees receive the standard 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12 months in these instances. Employees may use this time for pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption.
Military members in Alabama are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the same (or equivalent) previously held position
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)
There aren’t any additional guidelines or regulations for family members of service members in Alabama.
Additionally, service members are unlikely to receive benefits outside of those existing in USERRA. It’s important to note that employees are entitled to 168 hours of paid leave per calendar leave within these guidelines.
Private employers can also decide to offer individualized benefits for military employees. Employers must follow any terms laid out in employment contracts, or employers could face considerable fines. After completing their service, employees returning to their jobs must be offered the same (or equivalent) position.