Indiana Sick Leave Law and Your Obligations

In today’s legal environment, employees have many questions around sick leave and their access to it. There are no Indiana laws requiring companies to give their employees any type of sick leave as a benefit.  This includes paid and unpaid leave.  As an Indiana employer, you are only required to pay for time worked. (As an aside, it is a valuable employee benefit and could be an important recruiting tool that you may want to consider offering.) Federal law does allow for employees to take job-protected medical leave.    Let’s look at some aspects of Indiana’s medical and sick leave law and the employer’s responsibilities:

If You Promise, Expect to Deliver

If your employee handbook lists unpaid or paid sick leave as an employee benefit, you may be legally obligated to provide it. Handbooks should be regularly updated with current policies.  These updates should then shared with and acknowledged by employees. An employee has a reasonable expectation and right to sick leave if it is listed in the employee handbook. It is wise to review your employee handbook annually and make any needed changes or updates. 

Who Is Eligible for FMLA 

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been in place since 1993. Employees must work a certain number of hours during the year but is guaranteed time off to deal with:

  • their own serious illness
  • birth or adoption of a child
  • the serious illness of a spouse, parent or child
  • to cover emergencies related to spouse, parent or child’s military service

FMLA guarantees that the employee can return to their job or an equivalent job within the company at the end of the leave. Employees also have the option of taking the leave intermittently in the event of periodic medical appointments or treatments that require time at home for recovery.

FMLA requires that the employee fill out an application ahead of the event if possible. This form will require certification from an attending physician for a medical leave. The leave may or not be a paid medical leave because it is independent of and runs concurrently with, the employers’ sick leave policy. Returning employees will also need a release from the physician confirming that they are well enough to return to work. Any employee medical insurance will continue as if the employee was working. Employees of the state of Indiana can access information regarding sick leave at the state’s website

Implications of COVID-19

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) puts additional burdens on employers.  You need to be sure you are correctly providing additional sick leave for employees to care for themselves or loved ones suffering from COVID-19. State and local governments may have their own requirements for sick pay while an individual is:

  • under quarantine because of exposure
  • caring for a family member
  • battling the virus themselves

What’s In A Record?

Accrual and recording of sick leave, and employment and payroll records in general, is a complicated endeavor. It needs to be done according to state and federal — not to mention local — regulations in order to protect your company from litigation. Record keeping requirements are complex and varied, and they are also subject to change. When you are running a business, it’s no small task to also keep up with employment records and the ever-changing landscape.  

Our expertise will allow you to focus on what you do best, and leave the minutiae and details to us. We are here to make your medical leave and payroll record keeping a seamless and smooth process, thereby protecting your company from any risk. After all, you can’t provide or account for what you may not know. We offer SaaS-based payroll services to simplify your life. Please contact us today to see how we can help. 

Sick Leave Laws: Are There Laws Against Working While Sick?

According to Indiana sick leave laws, no employer is required under law to provide paid or unpaid sick leave to their employees. However, many employers give it as part of the employee benefit. Minor illnesses like flu are not part of the sick leave laws that provide legal protection against working while sick under federal law. Disability or severe medical conditions that present non-typical health complications or make a worker feel very sick are addressed under sick leave laws.

Laws concerning working while sick

Safety Violation

An illness or a particular medical condition can make the working environment unsafe. OSHA, a federal agency that deals with safety violations, will offer legal protection if there are safety concerns and your workers cannot report for duty. Workplace safety laws require that you grant sick leave to employees who cannot report to work, especially if they suffer from a contagious illness. Some industries, like health or food service sectors, are particularly more concerned about working while sick. Other non-regulated industries may also require workers not to report to work if they are ill.

Small Employer

The American With Disability Act will not offer any legal protection if an employer has a maximum of 14 employees. Unless the local laws of a specific state cover the employer, it means that there is no legal protection against working with a disability for a small employer. The Family and Medical Leave laws will protect employers with 50 employees and above within a radius of 75 miles. This means that if you have less than 50 employees, the Family and Medical Leave laws will not offer you any protection for serious conditions due to disability.

Serious Medical-Condition

Family and Medical-leave laws allow up to 12 weeks of sick leave for a serious medical condition. The law applies if an employer has a minimum of 50 employees within a radius of 75 miles. It also states that an employee must have worked for at least one year and 1250 hours within a year. This means that there are sick leave laws that protect in cases of severe medical conditions. However, there are specific conditions that have to be met.

According to the department of labor, the term “serious” has specific definitions. For example, “serious” means a period of treatment due to patient care in a hospital, hospice, or medical facility. It can also be a period of incapacity, among other definitions. You must understand these definitions before allowing a paid sick leave or unpaid sick leave.

Disability

An employer with 15 employees and more covered by the American With Disability Act must provide reasonable accommodation to workers with a disability. An example of reasonable accommodation could be allowed time off in case of illness related to the disability. The law, in this situation, offers protection as long as there is sufficient evidence that an employee has a disability. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific definitions of the term disability.

Final Thoughts

Some laws provide protection against working while sick as long as the situation meets certain conditions. In such cases, an employer should grant sick leave. If the situation does not meet these specific conditions, then you are under no legal obligation to grant sick leaves. However, you are at liberty to give sick leave as a work benefit. Laws regarding sick leave can be complex and present a tough topic. Employees need support during leave time, and at the same time, the work environment is competitive. ASAP Payroll helps companies navigate difficult topics like this. Contact us today for more information.

FFCRA 2021 Rules: Will Emergency Paid Sick Leave Under FFCRA Be Extended?

The Covid-19 pandemic brought numerous changes in all aspects of life. The Human Resource department was greatly impacted. Companies were forced to revise their HR guidelines for employees to cope with the impact of the pandemic. As a result, Congress signed into law the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, 2020. However, recently Congress amended the 2020 FFCRA bringing forth new 2021 leave provisions.

Understanding the FFCRA 2021 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Rules

The introduction of the FFCRA provided for emergency paid leave requests arising from Covid-19 related reasons. The law stipulated that private and some public companies with under 500 employees can offer two types of leave; the EFMLEA (Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act) and the EPSLA (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act).

Both laws expired on December 31, 2020. Congress did not re-enforce the EFMLEA or FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). 

Currently, through the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), employers can still honor FFCRA. The CAA allows employees to proceed on paid leave as stipulated in FFCRA. As a result, the federal government still provides full reimbursement to the employers through a refund or tax credits until March 31, 2021.

Employers taking advantage of the extended tax-credit should also be aware of the following:

  • The sick paid leave terms remain the same.
  • Leave taken in 2020 under the EFMLEA was counted against the federal entitlement, but days taken in 2021 under the voluntary FFCRA will not be counted against an employee’s federal EFMLA entitlement.
  • If an employee uses all their FFCRA leave hours or days by March 31, 2021, then the federal government will not reimburse tax credits or refund for paid leave taken in quarter one of 2021.
  • Employers will be required to provide documentation for the 2021 FFCRA paid leave to claim for refund or tax credits reimbursement.
  • An employee qualifies for family and paid sick leave if they have vaccine appointments or if they develop complications after vaccination.
  • The family paid leave credit limit was increased to $12,000.
  • Initially, the self-employed had a family leave entitlement of 50 days. However, CAA increased the period to 60 days.
  • Federal workers can take up to 15 days of paid leave (for themselves or a family member) because of Covid-19 related reasons.
  • The FFCRA 2021 sick leave law stipulates that employers should provide leave without discrimination to qualify for a tax credit.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Qualified employers are still bound by the 2021 FFCRA. Although Congress made some adjustments to the 2020 FFCRA, the penalties for non-compliance are still intact.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hours Division is tasked with enforcing the FFCRA. Employees are allowed to report employers who infringe their rights as provided in the Family First Coronavirus Response Act.

If found negligent, there are two consequences:

  • Employers get penalized as stipulated in the amended Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This happens when there is unlawful termination of FFCRA provisions or violation of the first 2 weeks of paid sick leave.
  • Employers can face penalties for infringing the additional 10 weeks of a paid leave request. The Family Medical Leave Act gives an outline of the provisions.

Generally speaking, employers are liable for monetary penalties, attorney’s fees, interest, unpaid wages, and damages, or an order inhibiting the continued operations of a business. Also, an employee can file a lawsuit against their employer.

Employers’ Safety Precautions

To avoid penalties, employers should update their employees leave-related documentation. It is also advisable to monitor updates from DOL and act accordingly.

If you need help or clarification on FFCRA provisions, ASAP Payroll can assist you. Feel free to visit our site to request a quote or call us at (317) 887-2727 for more information.

An HR Team’s Guide to Paid Sick Leave

Poor health is bad for your employees’ productivity. What’s more, sick employees risk spreading the disease around, putting more of your employees at risk. They need some time off to recover, and they could do with some compensation to ease the financial burden. So, how should you go about granting your employees paid sick leave? Here is a brief guide on how HR teams can develop and implement policies regulating paid sick leave.

Indiana Sick Leave Law

The federal and state governments have rigid laws against working while sick, and Indiana’s sick leave law is clear. The state law does not require employers to provide employees on sick leave with any benefits. However, it still mandates that employees should be granted sick leave for a range of reasons. Some of these reasons include:

  • The employee is too ill to come to work.
  • The employee has a sick close relative that they have to cater to.
  • The employee has an immediate family member on active military duty and needs their support (this is a qualifying exigency that qualifies the employee for emergency paid sick leave).

The law requires that the employee prove that they are sick (or someone close to them needs them) by getting a doctor’s confirmation. However, some companies have policies that allow employees to take sick leave at their discretion.

Will Emergency Paid Sick Leave Under FFCRA Return in 2021?

Paid sick leave law has recently come under the spotlight since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, lawmakers established the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to help employees impacted by the virus.

However, that mandate has since expired, and complying with the act is now a voluntary option. Authorities are exploring a way forward on this mandate, and it may be enacted again if the pandemic is not contained soon.

However, other laws protecting sick leave are still in force, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These laws protect the employee’s job for the duration of their sick leave. They also determine when and how much employees should be paid for the duration.

For example, federal law states that an employee on sick leave should be paid per hour for at least every 30-40 hours worked. Additionally, the law also puts a limit on the number of hours that an employee should spend on sick leave. To this end, an employer can fire an employee who takes more than 90 days of sick leave.

Company Policy on Paid Sick Leave

It is important to consider state and federal laws when developing the company’s policy on paid sick leave. However, you can customize your policy however you like.

For example, it is recommendable to demand proof justifying a paid sick leave. It is also recommendable to decide compensation based on the employee’s position and experience with the company.

It is advisable to make your policy regarding paid sick leave both fair and stern. It should be stern to deter employees who want to take paid sick leave when they don’t really deserve it. It should also be fair to guarantee your employees’ health and wellness – your employees need to be healthy to remain productive, after all.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to take good care of your employees to keep them productive. This entails giving them some time off to rest when they fall sick – and perhaps offering some compensation to keep them motivated. As such, reference state and federal sick leave law and clearly spell out the company’s policy to ensure that only employees who deserve paid sick leave get it. Please contact us today to see how we can help.