Do small companies have established maternity or long-term sick leave? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Do small companies have established maternity or long-term sick leave?

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Question: “Our company wants to establish a policy for maternity leave or long-term sick leave. We’re a small company and have never formally established a policy. Since we’re growing, we want to enable our employees to take leave without using all their vacation time. What are some suggestions that have worked for other companies?” — Sydney Eckersley


Our company uses the same guidelines as FMLA on maternity leave or long-term sick leave.We also have developed a sick pool whereas anyone who wants to donate some of their sick leave hours a year can. Our company has an employee earn 10 hours of time a month for sick and once an employee has been employed for a year receives two weeks vacation at the beginning of each year. Once you have voluntarily particiapated into the sick leave pool and you need the assistance because all other time has run out a person applies for the service and a board of 3 accept or deny the claim, which can also be appealed.

The non-profit organization I work for has a PTO system (personal time off) that doesn't separate vacation time from sick time. We follow FMLA, of course, but we each also have an Extended Leave Bank. Each year, up to 12 days can be transferred into the Extended Leave Bank, for a maxmimum of 90 days in the bank. I believe the organization automatically puts a couple days in each year, then you can add any leftover PTO until you reach the 12 days for the year. Days in the Extended Leave Bank cannot be used until you exhaust your PTO for that year, and they are not compensated if you leave the organization.

Here all full-time employees get free long-term disability insurance. It kicks in after 30 days of being off, paying 66 2/3 of a person's typical monthly pay. For maternity leave, all mothers and fathers (be sure to include fathers in your policy or you can risk a sex discrimination lawsuit) of newborn or adopted children get up to six weeks (or longer if medically necessary) of time off, but it is not paid time off. They can use sick time or vacation time if they want. We are far too small (15 employees) to mirror FMLA requirements.

I am an hourly employee and the head of household. My husband is unable to work and does not receive any income. My company offers up to 5 sick days per calendar year. We also receive short term allowed time for extenuating circumstances. I am curious as to why you would want to exclude hourly workers from receiving sick pay. If I am ill and unable to work, I still need to pay my bills and purchase groceries. I believe all companies should support their employees in any way they can and that would include allowing PAID sick days.

Our company has both a PTO and Extended Illness Bank. Depending on the employees status, FT/PT the amount of time accrued for the year varies. When someone is out sick the first two days come out of PTO. After that any additional days come out of EI as not to deplete our paid time off. If the illness is long enough to exhaust the EI bank then the sick time goes back to the remaining PTO. Anyone out three days or more cannot return without a doctors note.

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