South Carolina Sick Leave Law

Eligible Employees

South Carolina has preemptive sick leave laws requiring employers to give workers time off for household and medical reasons.

According to Bill SB 218, full-time employees should at least work half of the workweek on a 12-month basis or during the academic calendar. Part-time employees should work at least half of the company’s workweek to be eligible for sick leave on a pro-rata basis.

On the other hand, when private employers promise sick leave, they must fulfill that obligation as stated in their employee package.

The general guidelines on preemptive South Carolina sick leave law are as follows:

  • An employee can use sick leaves for personal injury or illness, dental treatment or examinations, pregnancy, temporary disability, and catching a contagious infection.
  • Private employers may request the employee for documentation as proof of the leave. The employee’s healthcare practitioner may provide it.
  • Employees who suffer an illness during their annual leave may convert the portion of ill days into sick leaves at the company’s discretion.
  • Suppose the company suspects the employee of fraudulent sick leave use. In that case, the employer can request a second opinion through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

Covered Employers

South Carolina currently doesn’t have state laws requiring employers to give employees paid sick leaves. However, most employers offer sick leave benefits as part of their company handbook, which is highly beneficial for employee retention.

Employers are required in writing to present their employees at the time of employment, the wages and hours, holidays, paid vacation time, and sick leave days. It’s also the employee’s right to be notified of any changes made in the agreement through writing.

Those changes will only take effect seven calendar days of the notification.

The company must strictly abide by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) along with the private sick leave benefits.

The act serves as federal protection to employees to have guaranteed rights regarding family and medical reasons.

Although the FMLA doesn’t guarantee paid sick leaves, it allows employees to recover from an illness while ensuring they aren’t terminated upon return.

Family Medical Leave

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates employers to give sick leave benefits.

However, the South Carolina sick leave law or policy will only be granted if the employees meet the eligibility requirements:

  • Nonexempt employees should currently work for the company for at least 12 months
  • During the 12-month period, the employee has allotted 1250 hours of work time
  • The business size and location should at least have 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

The FMLA leave is available for an employee for the following reasons:

  • Nurturing and caretaking for your newborn
  • Recovery from a serious health condition
  • Taking care of an ill or injured family member
  • Taking care of an ill or injured military family member

FMLA allows employees to take unpaid sick leave for 12 weeks in a 12-month period for health recovery or caretaking for a newborn. They may use 26 weeks of unpaid sick leave to take care of a family member injured while on active military duty.

Employees can still enjoy the healthcare insurance policy provided by their employer while on leave.

Earning Rate of Sick Leaves

According to South Carolina’s Department of Administration, the benefits for employees working full time include 1.25 sick leaves per month or 15 days annually.

If the employee works part-time or on an inconsistent basis, the South Carolina sick leave law rewards the employee for time spent working for the company.

The employers calculate the rate of sick leave using the average hours for an employee’s workday.

Other Sick Leave Policies

Other provisions in the South Carolina sick leave law include:


Employees may use up to six weeks of sick leave as long as they are the primary caretaker of the adopted child. However, if both parents of the adopted child live in South Carolina, only one parent is eligible for adoption leave.

Sick Leave Advancement

Private employers may give an additional 15 days of sick leave in advance to an employee, granting that the employee is assured of returning. They may use a written verification from the health care practitioner as an assurance to guarantee employee retention for the business.

Upon returning to work, an employee’s sick leave is temporarily reduced to 1.25 days per month for full-time employees until the difference is reimbursed.

The rate may also change depending on whether the worker is a full-time or part-time employee.

Alcoholism Treatment

The state recognizes alcoholism as a treatable illness, which falls under the South Carolina sick leave law. It may be granted to an employee looking to participate in public or private rehabilitation and treatment programs.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health must approve treatment and rehabilitation facilities as part of the sick leave ordinance.

Family Sick Leave

South Carolina state may give employees up to 10 of the 15 maximum days of sick leave for taking care of their immediate family. Accompanying family members to doctor’s appointments also applies to the family sick leave.

Sick Leave Carryover

Full-time employees may carry over 180 work days from the previous calendar year to carry forward for the number of sick leaves. An adjustment will be made accordingly should the employee is subjected to an increase or decrease in work hours per week.

Sick Leave Balance Transfer

When an employee transfers employment location from one state to another, their sick leave balance is transferred to the receiving employer.

Since states have different laws regarding the number of sick leaves an employee can have, a transferee’s number of leaves is adjusted and converted.

Take note that the employee must not have taken any service breaks to be eligible to transfer sick leaves.

Reinstatement Rights

Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to reinstatement to employment either in their former positions or an equivalent one once they finish the leave. The employer must abide by these rules along with some exceptions.

Employment Separation

An employee forfeits all forms of sick leave once separated from employment. Exceptions to this rule are employees retiring or terminated from the reduction of the workforce or those taking a break from service.

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