Employees must meet specific criteria to receive eligibility for benefits and leave. A few examples of the requirements you’ll need to meet are:
- Must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months (365 days of employment)
- Must have put in at least 1,250 hours of work the previous year
- Must work for an employer with a minimum of 50 employees within 75 miles
The Family Medical Leave Act is specifically designed to help employees get sick leave. Some of the common purposes for employee leave include:
- Caring for an ill or injured non-military family member
- Caring for an ill or injured military family member
- Recovering from a severe illness
- Bonding with or caring for a new child
During your 12 weeks of unpaid leave, you will also have the option to use your accrued payment of vacation leave. Employees must also have access to their standard healthcare plans available through their employers.
If there are any potential vacation policy issues, employers must accommodate the needs of their employees with vacation benefits.
Idaho sick leave law is very similar to other states with fewer preemptive employment laws. Currently, there aren’t any state-level employee rights that require employees to offer sick leave. However, the state must abide by the minimal employment laws in the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
It is also important to note that covered employers can choose to offer paid or unpaid sick leave benefits to their employees. These individual plans must abide by Idaho employment guidelines to provide employees equal access to leave. Employers found not adhering to their outlined policies could face significant fines.
When establishing private sick leave plans for employees, employers must outline their leave guidelines in an employee handbook. All details about the sick leave plan must be in writing and placed in an easily accessible location for all employees. If any changes are made to the existing policy, employees must be notified in writing of said changes.
As a public employee of Idaho (ex. public health districts), there are a variety of regulations to consider when using your sick leave. Some of the employee premium benefits you will receive include:
- Accrued sick leave and minimum wage claims are forfeited upon separation from employment
- Employees must take sick leave on a workday basis (holidays do not count against sick leave)
- Employers can request practitioner verification if an employee’s sick leave is over three days
- Taking an absence for illness cannot turn into employees being suspended, laid off, or penalized without federal minimum wage
- Public employers can pay employees for accrued sick leave per Idaho Code like premium pay holidays
- Part-time or irregular employees may receive different options for sick leave, such as unpaid holiday leave
Family Medical Leave
If your employer does not offer private sick leave options in your employment contract, federal family medical leave laws can help you receive the necessary time.
The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a helpful solution for employees. Using this program, you can access 12 weeks of unpaid leave to assist with personal and familial illnesses.
As a parent, it is challenging to care for an ailing child while also maintaining your job and service requirements. This is particularly true if your employer doesn’t offer private sick leave.
Another massive advantage of the FMLA is that employees can use it to care for and bond with a new child. Instead of using your employee unpaid 12 weeks of rest periods for a personal medical ailment, it can also be adapted to caring for a new child.
Also known as parental leave benefits, this benefit gives employees the option to have federal leave for child-rearing. However, some stipulations could depend on you and your partner’s employment status.
Spouses employed by the same company and expecting a child will likely split the 12 weeks of leave. For example, one spouse will receive six weeks while the other receives the remaining time off. This employment agreement helps ensure employers do not suffer from low staffing.
For standard sick leave, you’ll also be entitled to the same list of benefits you’d receive from using the FMLA. Additionally, you will need to meet the same eligibility criteria before being granted your 12 weeks. Employees must be given the option to access their standard healthcare insurance as offered by their employer during their time off.
Employee Protections for Sick Leave
Many employees avoid taking sick leave because they don’t want to be discriminated against or experience a declining employment relationship. Fortunately, Idaho sick leave law ensures employees are protected when using their sick leave.
Employers cannot discriminate against, demote, or fire any individual employee using his or her accrued leave. These protections also apply to employees who choose to use the Family Medical Leave Act, unless an employee participates in employment violations.
After returning from their 12 weeks of unpaid leave, employees must be offered the same or equivalent position. Additionally, employers cannot threaten or intimidate employees who express interest in sick leave.
Same or equivalent employment available when an employee returns will include:
- Pay at the regular rate per hour as per wage payment laws
- No drops in the employee’s hourly pay rate
- No changes to position or title in employer records
- Leave cannot affect the future wages of employees
- Employers cannot make changes to the conditions of employment
Other Sick Leave Laws
Employers in Idaho must abide by additional requirements regarding sick leave. Let’s examine what employers and employees need to know about additional sick leave laws.
- Policy Enforcement
All outlined guidelines must be followed if a private employer has established a specific sick leave plan for employees. Employers must notify their employees in writing of the sick leave policies and follow said policies. If not, employees could have the right to sue their employers.
- Leave Payment
There are currently no laws in Idaho that require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Private employers can decide to offer paid or unpaid time off. It’s important to note that the employer must follow company policies for the duration of employment.
- Use-It-or-Lose-It Policy
Some states have a use-it-or-lose-it policy where employees must use their accrued sick leave within a specific period.
Idaho has no specific regulations or laws that require employees to use their leave before it is lost. That said, employers can establish their employment records regarding using sick leave within a specific period.
- Payment of Unused Leave
In the state of Idaho, there are no regulations regarding the payment of accrued leave at employment termination.
Employees are not entitled to receive any monetary gains or benefits in return for their unused sick leave. Separation of employment may result in you losing any and all benefits in the employer policy.
- Wage Protections
As per minimum wage laws, employees cannot experience deductions from wages when using leave.
Idaho employers must abide by the Department of Labor Wage guidelines to ensure employees don’t receive a lesser payment of wages. Additionally, employees have the right to submit claims for wages if they believe they are disproportionately targeted by taking leave.