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Can we legally cap paid sick leave?

by on
in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. One of our managers has medical problems (she qualifies for the ADA and is in an age-protected class) and has used a significant amount of paid sick leave. Because we don’t have a defined sick pay policy, this manager uses paid sick time whenever she’s out (full day or half day). How can we legally cap this? Is developing a policy with specific hours our only alternative?

A. There is no legal requirement to pay for sick days. You can advise the manager that going forward, she will be paid only for a certain number of sick days per year (assuming that you haven’t afforded other employees more paid sick days).

It is better to develop a policy that sets forth how many paid sick days employees will receive, so you are treating employees consistently and not singling out this manager. Also, remember that the manager is probably entitled to take unpaid time under the ADA and the FMLA (if she is eligible for FMLA and your company is subject to it).

Communicate your decision to stop paying her for sick days very carefully so it doesn’t appear that the decision is in retaliation for her having taken time off for medical problems.

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