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Paid Sick Days

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Definition:

Paid sick days are time off from work that an organization voluntarily provides employees as a benefit. The number of paid sick days is often accrued by employees based on years of service to the organization and the level of their position. Other companies, however, keep paid sick days simple - every employee receives the same number.

Still other companies opt for a paid time off (PTO) policy that folds sick days, vacation days, and personal days into one bank of days that employees use at their discretion. While there are no Federal laws in the United States that require an employer to offer paid sick days as a benefit, employers of choice offer them to employees as part of a comprehensive benefits package.

(Legislation to mandate employers to pay sick days ranging from 5-9 paid days off per year is under consideration in several states. San Francisco (2007) is the first locale in the U.S. to mandate employers to provide them.)

In fact, as a benefit, they are so common that potential employees expect either paid sick days or a PTO bank of days as part of a comprehensive benefits package. The percentage of employers voluntarily offering paid sick days in March, 2007 was 57%. This percentage ranged up to 80% for managerial employees. Part time employees and employees in the service industry were least likely to have paid sick time off.

Most organizations use a formula that assigns a certain number of hours accrued during each pay period rather than making the paid sick days available at the beginning of a calendar year. Additionally, a large percentage of employers allow the use of these days to care for a sick family member. It is more rare to find employers who allow sick days to carry over into a new calendar year. The goal is to keep sick employees out of the workplace.

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Also Known As: Paid time off (PTO), sick leave

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