Employers may provide their employees with various types of paid or unpaid leave as part of their overall employee benefits packages. Employers have some flexibility when it comes to establishing or negotiating employee leave policies. However, employers must comply with state employment laws requiring employee leave for specific purposes.

Employers must also follow federal laws not addressed by specific state laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Here are some of the types of leave required in some states:

Sick/medical leave

More states are enacting laws requiring employers of all sizes to offer paid or unpaid sick or medical leave to employees. These laws vary greatly from state to state, and some are funded by additional taxes on employees and employers. Understanding the specific leave laws in the states where employees work is important to staying in compliance.

Jury duty leave

Almost all states have laws preventing an employer from retaliating against an employee who is summoned for jury duty, but the wording varies from state-to-state. Some states require an employer to provide at least a limited amount of paid leave for jury duty, but most states do not.

Military leave

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination against a person based on past military service, current military obligations, or intent to serve. In addition to USERRA, some states have additional requirements for employers as well.

Voting leave

Many states have voting leave laws that allow employees to take time off to vote in certain circumstances, such as when there is insufficient time between the time the polls open and close within the state, and the time employees start and finish work. Some states even require that the time off to vote be paid.

Victim leave

Some states require employers to grant leave to an employee who is a victim of or witness to a crime. This leave may only be required if an employer is required to testify in court or may be allowed for other reasons (to obtain medical treatment, counseling, etc.). Some states have additional laws allowing leave for victims of domestic violence.

Organ, bone marrow or stem cell donor leave

Some states require leave for employees who are donating organs, bone marrow, or stem cells. This leave is typically separate from other types of medical leave and may be required to be paid depending on the state laws.

Volunteer first responder leave

Some states have laws prohibiting the discipline or termination of an employee who is absent or late to work due to responding to an emergency in his or her volunteer capacity as a volunteer firefighter, rescue squad member, emergency medical technician, peace officer or member of an emergency management agency.

To learn more about specific state lave law requirements, Download our Employee Leave Laws by State Guide.

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*State laws change frequently. This blog and guide simply provide a basic overview of these laws. Check specific state labor law websites for the most up to date state information.