Rhode Island – Leave Laws

Vacation Leave

In Rhode Island, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

According to Rhode Island law, an employer must pay an employee who has completed at least one (1) year of service, upon separation from employment, for any vacation pay accrued in accordance with company policy or contract on the next regular payday for the employee. RI Stat. 28-14-4(b). This also means an employer cannot require an employee to comply with specific requirements to qualify for payment of vacation leave upon separation from employment, such as provide a certain number of days notice of intent to leave or not be terminated for misconduct, so long as the employee has at least one year of service with the employer.

Neither Rhode Island’s Legislature or courts have clarified whether an employer can cap accrued leave (although this is probably lawful) or implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it.

Sick Leave

Beginning on July 1, 2018, Rhode Island will require certain employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. Rhode Island Sick Leave Law. Additionally, employers in Rhode Island may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with RI Parental & Family Medical Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.

Holiday Leave

Rhode Island requires employers to pay employees 1½ times their regular rate on Sundays and the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Victory Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans’ Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

The law also permits employees to refuse to work on Sundays and legal holidays. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, the day following is observed as the legal holiday. Some exceptions apply to Rhode Island’s Sunday and holiday pay law. RI Dept. of Labor FAQs; RI Statute 25-3.

Sunday Leave

Rhode Island law permits employees to refuse to work on Sundays. RI Dept. of Labor FAQs; RI Statute 25-3.

State holidays

Visit our Rhode Island State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Rhode Island as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.

Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury. An employer may not discharge, or deny wage increases, promotions, longevity benefits, or any other benefit due to the employee because the employee has been called to serve jury duty. RI Statute 9-9-28

Voting Leave

Rhode Island does not have a law that requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.

Bereavement Leave

Rhode Island law does not require employers to provide employee bereavement leave. 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 it maintains.

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