2024 Updates: Paid Sick Leave Laws

Employers should annually review their paid time off policies, procedures, and employee handbooks to ensure compliance.

Gina Schrandt avatar
Written by Gina Schrandt
Updated over a week ago

Employers can usually choose whether to give their workers paid time off, such as sick leave. Sometimes, though, you might not have a choice because of where your business is located. State laws about paid sick leave are slowly becoming more common. For example, if your employees work in a state that requires sick leave, you have to follow the rules. It might be necessary to follow the local laws if you have at least one employee working there.

Few federal laws require private employers to provide leave of absence. The majority of states and municipalities give employees more leave than what is required by federal law. At the moment, there is no federal law about sick leave. State-mandated sick pay is, however, mandatory in more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia. But to remain compliant, you have to know about the state sick leave law in the first place.

As of now, paid sick leave laws are in place in about 20 states and 30 local governments. The paid sick leave rules in some of these states and cities were changed in 2023, and they became effective on January 1, 2024. These new or changed laws are summed up below.

2024 Updates


Employers who have at least one worker in California for at least 30 days in a year must follow California's paid sick leave law. The new changes to the law will raise the minimum amount of paid sick leave that an employer must give to their workers. They will also raise the limits on how much sick leave an employee can earn and use each year.

As of January 1, employers can follow the new law in one of three ways:

  1. Provide workers with an annual grant that is upfront-loaded and equivalent to either 40 hours of work or 5 days of sick leave.

  2. Grant 1 hour of paid sick leave for each 30 hours worked to employees.

  3. Implement a sick leave policy that allows for the gradual accumulation of leave hours, specifically granting one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. This policy ensures that employees will have a minimum of 24 hours of accrued leave by either the 120th calendar day of employment or within each consecutive 12-month period. Additionally, employees will have no less than 40 hours of accrued leave by the 200th calendar day of employment or within each consecutive 12-month period.

The California amendments also raise the maximum amount of paid sick leave that can be accumulated from 48 hours to 80 hours and the maximum amount of paid sick leave that can be used from 24 hours, or three days, to 40 hours, or five days per benefit year.

Read more on California's website here.


Illinois has updated its sick leave laws. According to the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLFAW), employees can now take paid sick leave for any reason. Within Illinois, the PLFAW Act applies to all employers with one or more employees. This includes state and local governments. The PLFAW also applies to every employee working for an employer in Illinois.

Employees accrue a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave per year, or one hour for every 40 hours worked, per the PLFAW. Conversely, employers have the option to provide employees with 40 hours of paid sick leave in advance, commencing on the designated 12-month period or the first day of employment. Starting on March 31, 2024, or 90 days after their start date of employment, employees are eligible to utilize paid sick leave. Employers who utilize the accrual method (as opposed to the frontloading method) are obligated to transfer unused but accrued PLFAW leave to their employees from one year to the next. However, they are permitted to impose a 40-hour annual restriction on the benefit.

In addition to only allowing certain authorized uses of paid sick leave, the amended PLFAW says that employers cannot make workers show proof or documentation when they ask for paid leave, and workers can use paid leave for any reason. Any paid leave provisions enacted or modified by local ordinances in Illinois must comply with the PLFAW. The new law has exceptions for businesses with employees in the City of Chicago and Cook County, both of which have existing paid sick leave ordinances in place.

Read more on Illinois's website here.


The Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law was changed by the City Council in November. The changes take effect on December 31. However, the council voted earlier this month to put off the start date until July 1.

According to the new ordinance, employers must give eligible workers at least 40 hours of paid leave each year, which can be used for any reason. They must also give workers an extra 40 hours of paid sick leave each year, which can be used for medical care, treatment, or diagnosis for themselves or their family members. The new law lets workers carry over up to 16 hours of earned but unused paid leave and up to 80 hours of earned but unused paid sick leave to the next benefit year. An employee can only use 40 hours of paid leave and 40 hours of paid sick leave in a year, according to the law.

It is also not required that employers give back paid sick leave that was earned but not used when an employee is fired. However, depending on the size of their workforce, some employers may have to do so:

  • 101 or more employees: upon termination, an employee must be compensated for all unused accrued paid leave.

  • Between 51 and 100 employees: all unused accrued paid leave must be paid on or after July 1, 2025, except for a maximum of 16 hours of paid leave until July 2025.

  • Employers with 50 or fewer workers are not obligated to compensate workers for any unused paid leave.

The updated Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Act applies to all employees who put in at least 80 hours for a company in Chicago during any 120-day period.

Read more on Chicago's website here.


Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) is a new law in Minnesota that applies to all employees who work at least 80 hours a year in Minnesota and are not independent contractors, except federal government workers. This includes temporary and part-time workers. For every 30 hours worked, employees must earn at least one hour of ESST leave. However, an employer can limit an employee's annual ESST leave to 48 hours. Employers may choose to give 48 hours of leave all at once at the start of each year or when a worker starts, instead of letting leave build up over time.

Additionally, unless the employer pre-loads the following, employees may carry over up to eighty hours of accrued but unused sick leave from one year to the next:

  1. 48 hours of leave and pays employees for accrued, unused leave at the end of the year

  2. 80 hours of leave and does not pay employees for accrued, unused leave at the end of the year.

The law lists certain situations when ESST leave can be used, such as for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an employee's or a family member's illness or medical condition. At the end of each pay period, employers must give their workers a list of all the ESST hours they have earned and are ready to use, along with the number of hours they used during that pay period. Employers should note that local ordinances are still in effect in Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul and will need to make sure their leave policies are compliant with each.

Read more on Minnesota's website here.


Law changes in Washington that go into effect next year will only affect certain construction workers. Washington law currently says that workers can use their earned paid time off starting on their 90th day of work. Since many construction jobs are short-term, this rule often hurts workers because many of their jobs are finished in less than three months. As of January 1, however, Washington employers will have to pay residential building construction workers who have been fired and have not met the 90-day eligibility requirement the rest of their paid sick leave that they have earned but not yet used. However, if a Washington employee is rehired within a year of being fired, their unused and accrued paid leave will not be reinstated. This is not the case for construction workers who are rehired within a year.

Read more on Washington's website here.

This information is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice and is provided as a courtesy; it is subject to change. We try to keep the information in this article current, and new laws may go into effect.

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