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Meet the First 2 Paid Sick Leave Laws of 2015

Presagia Paid Sick Leave Law Map - Meet The First 2 PSL Laws of 2015

So, you finally thought you knew all the paid sick leave laws?

It’s inevitable — you reviewed last year’s new laws, figured out which ones you need to understand and finally thought you had them under control. But it’s a new year and that means new laws! Two new laws so far, to be precise: Tacoma, WA and Philadelphia, PA.

So what do you need to know right away? We've laid out a summary of each law:

1. Tacoma, WA

On Jan. 27, Tacoma became the first city to pass a paid sick leave law after President Obama called on cities and states to do so during his State of the Union address.

Tacoma’s ordinance applies to all employees who have worked more than 80 hours in the city within a calendar year, including temporary and part-time employees, as well as unionized workers subject to collective bargaining agreements.

Starting on Feb. 1, 2016, employees can begin accruing one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 worked in Tacoma, up to a total of 24 hours. Employees can then use this accrued time starting on the 180th calendar day after the start of employment. But here’s the tricky part — while employees are only entitled to use 24 hours of paid sick time in the first year of employment, they can use up to 40 hours in their second year, using any unused time carried over from the previous year (employees may carry over up to 24 hours). As if paid sick leave laws weren't confusing enough already!

Accrued sick time may be used for any of the following situations concerning the employee or a family member:

  • Diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition
  • Preventative medical care
  • Situations involving stalking, domestic violence or sexual assault
  • Bereavement
  • When an employee’s place of business is closed by order of a public official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin or hazardous material
  • When a child’s school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official


2. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia-based businesses are probably already aware of this bill, which was vetoed twice by Mayor Michael Nutter ( in 2011 and 2013). Why the change of heart? Nutter cited the city’s economic recovery following the recession as the reason for his previous stance, but the bill also had enough support from City Council to override his veto this time around.

The bill applies to all companies with 10 or more employees, with the following exceptions:

  • Independent contractors
  • Seasonal workers
  • Adjunct professors
  • Employees hired for a term of less than six months
  • Interns
  • Pool employees
  • State and federal employees
  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement


Starting on May 13, 2015, eligible employees earn one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked in Philadelphia, to a maximum of five days per year. Accrual begins on either May 13 or the first date of employment (whichever is later), and employees can use paid sick time starting on the 90th calendar day of employment.

Employees can use paid sick time for themselves or for a family member, for:

  • Diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition
  • Preventative medical care
  • Situations involving stalking, domestic violence or sexual assault

Although unused paid sick time carries over to the following year, employees cannot use more than 40 hours per calendar year unless their employer sets a higher limit.

While two more cities with paid sick leave may not affect the majority of employers, don’t get too comfortable yet -- more and more states are currently considering bills, including Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. It’s important to keep your eyes open as this issue continues to develop.


About Presagia

Founded in 1987, Presagia has a long history of helping organizations solve complex business problems with easy-to-use solutions. Today, this means providing cloud-based absence management solutions that enable organizations to be more efficient, control lost time and risk, and strengthen compliance with federal, state and municipal leave and accommodation laws.


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