Best Ohio Employment Attorney Answer: What if my employer gives me no paid sick days – is that legal? Is there an Ohio or federal law that guarantees paid sick leave to employees? Does the FMLA provide for paid time off?
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made a push to provide paid sick leave to all U.S. workers. He proposed legislation called the Healthy Families Act that would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days a year and create $2 billion incentive fund to help states pay for family leave programs, and urged Congress to pass his proposal. Anticipating a steep uphill battle in Congress, President Obama also called on state and local governments to pass similar legislation.
Currently, there is no federal law that forces employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees. That includes no law making it mandatory to offer paid maternity leave. (The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.)
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), about which our employment attorneys have blogged here before (see Can My Employer Request Reimbursement For Paying My Health Insurance While I’m On FMLA Leave? Best Lawyer Rely! What Should I Do If I Was Harassed For Using FMLA? I Need A Lawyer! Can I Be Fired If I Just Ask For Sick Time, But Am Eligible For FMLA? I Need An Attorney!; Can I Sue My Job If I Was Fired For A False Reason After I Used FMLA? I Need A Lawyer In Ohio!), qualified employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off without losing their job to recover from a serious illness, take care of a sick family member, or care for a new baby. Federal and state laws also make it illegal to retaliate against workers for taking FMLA leave. Firing employees for using FMLA is wrongful termination. Similarly, employers must give reasonable time off to accommodate an employee to deal with a disability and your bosses and managers cannot discriminate against disabled employees for taking that time. However, employers are not required to provide paid leave for these purposes, and often they choose to make that leave unpaid.
Some states already offer their citizens paid leave programs – California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. New Jersey and Rhode Island have announced plans to institute paid leave programs. What are the chances Ohio will follow suit?
About 2.2 million Ohioans stand to benefit from President Obama’s plan. But even with the unwavering support of Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, it might be difficult for President Obama’s plan to get any traction here.
It isn’t the first time Ohio has considered legislating paid time off. In 2008, a diverse coalition put together a ballot proposal requiring paid time off. It polled well, garnering support from 76 percent of Democrats polled, and 45 percent of republicans. But it ran into opposition from the business community, and after then-governor Ted Strickland withdrew his support for the plan, the coalition dropped its campaign. Any new legislation aimed at providing paid leave is likely to run into the same opposition that the legislation faced in 2008.
However, the trend does seem to be toward expanding the rights of workers to paid leave, and the benefits of paid leave are well documented. According to a White House Council on Economic Advisers report, paid leave reduces turnover and increases productivity. And in states that have already instituted paid sick leave, including Connecticut, 75 percent of employers support the law, and reported that there were little or no negative effects of the new law on their bottom line.
Although Ohio doesn’t yet provide mandatory paid sick leave, employment laws do make it illegal for employers to apply their leave policies unfairly or retaliate if an employee using FMLA. If you are have questions about the legality of your employer’s paid sick leave policy, or if you think that policy is being applied unfairly, the best course of action is to call the right attorney at (216) 291-4744 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At the Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with an employment lawyer who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
This employment law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this medical leave page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I get medical leave under the FMLA?”, “what should I do when my job won’t give me medical leave?”, “can my boss deny me medical leave?”, “what should I do if I was fired in retaliation for taking FMLA leave?”, or “is my employer allowed to…?”, your best option is to contact an Ohio medical leave attorney to obtain advice with respect to FMLA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.