Mississippi State has yet to enforce a mandate that provides paid sick leave options for employees of private companies.
Still, compliance is a must if private employers include sick days benefits in their policies.
Those working without paid or unpaid sick leave on their contracts can benefit from Mississippi sick leave laws.
Let’s look at the current regulations about medical leave and other related subjects.
Major Medical Leave (MS Code § 25-3-95 of 2020)
Appointed officers and all government employees of Mississippi are entitled to earn Major Medical Leave credits.
This rule applies to faculty employees on a nine-month contract at the eight public universities.
Part-time and temporary employees of the state will also accumulate major medical leave credits on a prorated basis.
However, this rule excludes public university employees who don’t contribute to corresponding retirement programs.
These programs include the State Institutions of Higher Learning Optional Retirement Program and the Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System.
Major medical leave is applicable after an employee utilizes one day of accrued paid or unpaid compensatory or personal leave because of illness or injury.
This rule also applies when an employee’s immediate family member is affected.
However, faculty members under the eight public universities and on nine-month employment may use the major medical leave on their first day of absence.
Employees can bypass the one-day prior personal leave rule if they are scheduled for a doctor’s appointment or continuing treatment of a severe illness.
They have to get a certification or notice in advance from a physician or any similar medical professional.
An employer can authorize a leave of absence because of a health condition that consumes thirty-two (32) consecutive working hours.
However, an attending physician should certify the condition.
Full and part-time employees can take accrued major medical leave for up to three days for every death in their immediate family.
For this reason, no qualifying period of time for notice or other requirements is needed before using the leave benefit.
Any faculty member employed on a nine-month basis at a state-supported university will receive credit upon retirement.
They may get paid up to 30 days of unused major medical leave because of their state service.
All unused leave credits are counted as creditable services for the state’s retirement system.
The Major Medical Leave law defines immediate family members as any of the following:
The child of the employee can be:
- Doster child
- Child in loco parentis
Any Mississippi state law enforcement employee injured while on duty because of an accident or wound is not obliged to use their medical leave credits.
They may also not utilize it during their period of recovery.
Generally, employees who have sustained work-related injuries may qualify for temporary disability benefits.
If so, they are restricted from using their accrued medical and personal leave while still collecting workers’ compensation payouts.
The limitation also applies if the employee receives both benefits and gets an amount that surpasses 100% of their regular rate as a government employee.
This legislature restricts any state employee from receiving more than the full amount of their salary via the combined disability benefits and accrued paid leave.
Accrual and Leave Donation
Each employee’s earned major medical leave is allocated monthly following the end of each calendar month.
The appointing authority is not allowed to increase the leave credits of an employee.
It is prohibited to award substantial medical leave in excess of what the employee has earned.
However, employees can pass their earned major medical or personal leave to another eligible employee who has suffered a catastrophic illness or injury.
Before the donor employee can allocate the amount of leave to the recipient employee, the former must notify their appointing authority or supervisor first.
The donor employee cannot donate leave if the amount remaining on their credit is fewer than seven days.
The maximum amount should also not exceed the donor’s 50% of their accrued major medical leave.
Increments for all donated leave should not be less than 24 hours.
If an employee’s overall amount of donated leave is not utilized by the recipient, the leave will return to the donor on a pro-rata basis.
Furthermore, if the donor employee has submitted a notice about their termination of employment or separation, they cannot donate their leave.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
While there are no specific Mississippi sick leave laws for the private sector yet, the FMLA is still in effect.
It applies to all companies or businesses that employ at least 50 people.
FMLA allows employees to have unpaid, protected time off for significant health problems for up to 12 weeks.
Considering the maximum allowed time off, workers may have sufficient time to have medical treatment.
They can also have a leave of absence for other chronic ailments that would result in more sick days if left untreated.
Furthermore, employees may use FMLA for any illness that prevents them from working for at least three days.
Overview of Sick Leave Laws in the US
As previously stated, no federal law requires employers to provide paid sick leave in the private sector.
On the contrary, state and federal employees are entitled to paid sick leave credits as part of their benefits.
Sick leave is not new in employment benefits, but it is a significant advantage for employees during specific periods.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey in 2021, around 77% of workers in the private sector are granted paid sick leave.
About 92% of local and state employees will earn leave credits as stated in their employment contracts.
While the numbers are promising, the percentage of private workers who don’t have the privilege to use sick leave is concerning.
Fortunately, as more states are yet to pass laws about paid sick leave, the Mississippi sick leave laws already benefit many employees.
There are no medical leave laws in Mississippi for private employees at this time.
That’s why it’s the discretion of the employers if they would offer a sick leave policy.
If you’re a job applicant in the state, ensure you inquire about leave and other benefits before signing a work contract.