Slideshow 6 tips to tracking, administering paid sick leave

Published
  • March 22 2018, 10:05pm EDT
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6 tips to tracking, administering paid sick leave

Effective this October, Austin will become the sixth city to implement paid sick leave in 2018. The trend has grown over the past few years across states, cities and localities, yet benefits managers often struggle with compliance and administration of paid sick leave policies. To help them better track and manage such policies, Sherri Bartels, HCM product strategy director at Oracle — who spoke this week at Oracle HCM World conference in Dallas — offered six tips on how benefits managers can best comply with regulations and educate employees on their earned hours.

Keep abreast of regulatory changes.

With paid sick leave laws changing frequently and irregularly and varying by state, city and locality, HR professionals oftentimes struggle to keep up with the changes. Bartels suggests looking to the Department of Labor, state labor offices and local municipalities to discover what rules your company needs to comply with.

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Pay close attention to particular classes of employees.

Although contract workers are generally included under paid sick leave policies, HR departments should also be conscientious of telecommuters and mobile workers.

“It becomes more complicated,” Bartels said. “Those workers are going in and out of jurisdictions.”

HR departments should track when those employees are working in areas covered under paid sick leave and use that data to determine eligibility, she said.

Consider how unions come into play.

Companies that have unions should make sure to communicate how paid sick leave will be applied internally, Bartels said.

“Some paid sick leave laws will allow unions to waive this particular law, but then rule needs to be clearly stated in collective bargaining law,” she said.

Keep employees updated on policies.

Companies need to post their paid sick leave policies to ensure they are both compliant with the law while also informing workers of their rights in order to avoid being fined.

Bartels said giving notice can include a few strategies, such as updating the company handbook or sending a quarterly mailer to employees with their paid sick leave policy clearly outlined. Likewise, available sick time should be provided on employees’ pay stubs as well.

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Understand different “family member” definitions.

For workers in Emeryville, California, taking care of a sick guide or seeing eye dog qualifies for paid sick leave, Bartels said.

Other paid sick leave policies will define who qualifies as a family member — most don’t include pets — and create guidelines for using the leave, which can include family medical leave, public health emergencies and safe leave.

“There are some paid sick leave policies that say if you have workers, they should be able to use their earned sick leave in terms of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking reasons,” Bartels said.

Use technology to track leave policies.

Bartels said that some technologies, such as the Oracle HCM Cloud, allow for HR professionals to track work hours by down to locality, define sick accrual rates by location, cascade plans if necessary, provide valid reasons for sick leave, and offer certifications and re-installment options upon re-enrollment.