Utah doesn’t have a law that requires private employers to provide sick leave benefits to their employees. However, in general, private employers offer it to attract a bigger pool of workers.
In comparison, government workers are entitled to sick leave. They can start availing of their sick leave after working 40 hours per week for at least two weeks.
Additionally, private employees in Utah may avail of sick leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they work in a business with more than 50 employees for at least 20 weeks.
According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, private employees may apply for FMLA leave if they are able to meet the following eligibility requirements regarding employer size and time periods:
- Have worked for and been with the employer for a period of 12 months
- Have rendered at least 1250 hours in the previous year
- Works at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius
Application for Leave
Under the FMLA, non-exempt employees may apply for leave to:
- Bond with a newborn child
- Recuperate from a serious illness or physical disability
- Care for a family member with a serious illness, health condition, or physical disability
- Care for a family member who was injured while on active duty with the military
For a serious illness or to bond with a newborn child, nonexempt employees in Utah are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. The best part is that this is renewable on an annual basis as long as requirements are met.
Employees who have to care for family members injured while on active military duty can avail of up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. This is only renewable if the same family member or another family member gets injured while on active duty.
Health Insurance and Reinstatement Rights
Employees taking FMLA leave are entitled to continue paying their health insurance at the same rate while working.
After the FMLA leave is over, an employee is entitled to reinstatement to their previous position. That said, he cannot file an application for reinstatement if:
- The employee’s department was eliminated
- The employee can no longer perform an essential function of the job
- The FMLA leave was taken fraudulently
- The employee is one of the highest-paid employees of the company (top 10 percent) whose reinstatement will cause substantial financial injury.
Paid Versus Unpaid Sick and Safe Leave
Federal employees have the right to at least four hours of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked per week.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, those working for private employers may opt to avail of unpaid sick leave hours if they don’t want to use their paid sick leave.
Carry Over from Year to Year
Eligible state employees may carry over any amount of sick leave they accrued throughout the year. Even better, their amount of leave increases over time.
- Government employees who have rendered at least five years of service get four hours per week.
- Government employees who have rendered between five and 10 years of service get five hours of accrual per pay period.
- Those who have rendered 10 to 20 years get six hours of accrual per pay period.
- Government employees who have worked for at least 20 years get seven hours accrual per pay period.
Sick leave hours may be used for personal illness, preventive health and dental care, maternity, paternity, and adoption, care of a foster child, and for temporary disability of a spouse or dependent living at home.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an eligible worker under a private employer may file for sick leave for childbirth or to care for and bond with a newborn. It can also be availed for adoption or foster care-related concerns.
If an employee is required to care for an immediate family member (except in-laws) with a serious health condition, he may be granted unpaid holiday leave. It can also be granted to employees to provide care for family who is a member of the uniformed services and got injured while on duty.
Family Members Defined
In Utah, employers are required to grant sick leave if it is filed for preventive health and dental care or for absence from duty due to an illness, injury, or disability of a spouse, children, or parents.
Adoption care, maternity, and paternal leave benefits can also be provided to employees, regardless of whether he is the biological parent or the adoptive legal parent.
New Employees’ Wait-to-Use Period
Those under state employment and who have completed at least a two-week pay cycle can start availing of their sick leave. They may be granted additional absences if they meet the employer’s sick-leave requirements.
Sick and Safe Leave Use Requirements and Limits
For less than three days of vacation, an employee must inform his employer at the start of the work day that they are unable to work because of an injury or illness. An application for additional absences that exceeds three days must be supported by a certificate.
In Utah, employees are eligible for 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health-related leave and to bond with a newborn child. As mentioned, this renews every 12 months.
Those who provide care for a member of the family who was injured on active military service get additional leave rights for as much as 26 weeks in a 12-month period.
Payment for Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Upon Separation from Employment
Government employees won’t be paid for unused sick leave if they leave or retire. However, under the Utah State Retirement and Insurance Benefit Act’s condition of service, employees who retire, pass away, or have a surviving spouse may avail of the unused sick leave retirement benefit.
Alternative Leave Policies
State workers can also avail other leave benefits. They just have to present the necessary requirements, and their requests are granted after an evaluation period.
Short-Term Disability Benefits
An employee with at least seven days’ leaves of absence but not exceeding 30 may file for a Short-Term Disability claim. Such application must include the employee’s medical information, the physician’s contact information, as well as statements from both the employee and employer.
Once granted, the benefits are paid weekly during the duration of the short-term illness. Furthermore, employees may inquire with health insurance providers about their disability insurance programs.
Long-Term Disability Coverage
Nonexempt service workers who can provide medical documentation to prove they are unable to work for a long period may avail of Long-Term Disability benefits for up to 24 months.
However, the waiting period may take as long as 60 days to process the special requirements, which will pay out every month. Employees can also get in touch with health care providers regarding their disability insurance programs or other sick leave benefits.
Jury Duty and Voting Leave
Utah law requires employers to allow employees to file for leave if they are called for jury duty or have to answer a deposition. Employers who disallow their employees to take such leave may face stiff fines or criminal charges.
Wherever you are in the world, how early you can retire is based on your days of employment in a company. In Utah, state employees who have rendered at least 25 years of service may opt for early retirement.
However, those working for the Utah State Board of Education may enjoy their early retirement benefits as early as after five years of service, as announced by the board on April 1, 2022.
Employees may take their vacation leave for absence that qualifies for sick leave. However, employees are not allowed to use their sick leave for vacation purposes.
Employee Notice of Use Requirements
An employee needs only to contact his employer at the start of the working day if he wants to avail of sick leave for no more than three days. For three days and more, an administratively accepted document is needed.
For sick leaves between seven and 30 days, a doctor’s note, contact number, and statements from both the employer and employee are needed.
Employees who want to avail of the employment benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act must provide 30 days’ notice if the need is foreseeable. However, if a 30-day notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice at a reasonable time.
Under such conditions of employment, the employee will be required to submit additional requirements to justify the leave.
Filing a Complaint, Complaint Procedure, and Penalties
Federal employees covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act may file a complaint with the state’s Labor Commission if they feel that their sick leave rights were violated.
Employees will need to find out which parts of the employment contract and FLMA weren’t followed and have all the documents supporting that period in question.