State laws

Guaranteed sick leave now law in Rhode Island

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UPDATE: This story has been updated to use hours as the accrual unit.

Providence, RI — Rhode Island is guaranteeing sick leave for all workers under a state law that took effect July 1.

Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act into law on Sept. 28. Employers with 18 or more employees must provide at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked. Employers with fewer than 18 employees must provide sick time, but it does not need to be paid.

The law – which will affect more than 100,000 Rhode Island workers – guarantees eligible workers up to 24 hours of sick time per year beginning this year before increasing to a maximum of 32 hours in 2019 and 40 in 2020, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Being able to recover from an illness or care for a sick relative without having to worry about losing your job or going without pay is a basic right that Rhode Islanders deserve,” Raimondo said in the release. “Treating workers with dignity and respect is imperative to creating a strong, productive workforce, but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”

Rhode Island joins eight states, the District of Columbia and numerous cities in authorizing paid sick leave. Legislation enacting mandatory paid sick leave in New Jersey is set to go into effect Oct. 29.

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