Virtually any issue related to a person’s employment is governed by a mix of both state and federal law. Federal employment law often affords workers greater protections than state law alone. Although many employers offer paid holidays, sick days, and vacation time as part of their benefits packages, they aren’t required to do so by federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act only requires employers to pay employees for the time they work, not for time off.
Paid Leave: State Law
Florida’s labor code establishes a minimum wage, enforces anti-discrimination laws and imposes provisions relating to child labor, but does not mandate paid or unpaid sick leave for employees. Under state law, the issue of paid sick leave is a matter of agreement between employers and employees. Employee contracts or collective bargaining agreements between employers and certified unions may make sick leave mandatory as a matter of contract law.
Paid Leave: Federal Law
The federal employment law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, covers many employers in Florida. However, while establishing a federal minimum wage and rules for overtime pay, the FLSA does not require sick leave or any other form of paid time off for employees. The U.S. Department of Labor states that paid time off is subject to agreements between employers and employees, or between employers and employees’ representatives in collective bargaining.
The Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal statute, allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks off per year without placing his job in jeopardy. Employees may use FMLA leave for several reasons, one of which is a serious illness affecting the employee or an immediate family member. FMLA leave is available to employees who have at least a year of service with their current employer and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the past year. FMLA regulations apply to private-sector businesses that regularly employ at least 50 workers, and to all public agencies.