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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.