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FMG Law Blog Line

Georgia Passes New Sick Leave Law

Posted on: May 31st, 2017

By: Brad Adler

As spring was rolling into Atlanta, so was momentum for the Georgia legislature to pass a new sick leave law for Georgia employers. Finally, in late March, Georgia passed SB 201, which requires employers who offer sick leave to allow employees to use their sick leave to care for immediate family members. The new law only applies to employers who employ 25 or more employees (but excludes employers who offer an employee stock ownership plans) are excluded and to employees who work at least 30 hours per week.

In short, the law requires covered employers to allow up to five days of existing sick leave per year to be used by employees to care for “immediate family members,” which includes employees’ children, spouses, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, and dependents. Please note, however, that the law does not extend the amount of sick leave employees may earn or accrue, nor does it require employers to modify sick leave policies other than to allow some of that leave to be used to care for immediate family members. Practically speaking, this new leave law serves as a mini-FMLA since employees can use sick leave to care for immediate family members. But for those employers who simply have one PTO bank, this new law should not have any real impact as employees would have been able to use PTO to care for a family member prior to this law going into effect.

The law does not create a new cause of action against employers, so it is difficult to predict how violations of the law will be enforced (if enforced at all). Furthermore, the law is slated to expire after three years, unless it is renewed by the General Assembly. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2017. 

For any questions, please contact Brad Adler at [email protected].

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