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.