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Are Full-Time Employees Entitled to Paid Vacation & Sick Leave?



U.S. employers are not legally required to provide employees with paid vacation time and sick days. The United States is one of the only developed countries that doesn't offer these benefits to workers.

Fair Labor Standards Act

Many employers choose to compensate employees for vacation days and sick leave, subject to certain limits. And union employees working in jobs covered by collective bargaining agreements may be entitled to paid days off.

Additionally, some federal laws require certain employers to provide paid time off. According to the U.S. Department of Labor:

"The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or federal or other holidays. These benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative). On a government contract to which the labor standards of the McNamara O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) apply, holiday and/or vacation fringe benefit requirements are stated in the SCA wage determinations in contracts that exceed $2,500. On a government contract to which the labor standards of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) apply, holiday pay and/or vacation pay is required for specific classifications of workers only if the Davis-Bacon wage determination in the covered contract specifies such requirements for workers employed in those classifications."

Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to provide certain workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons affecting the employee or members of the employee's immediate family.

An employee qualifies for FMLA leave if:

  • The worker has been employed by the company for at least 12 months
  • The employee has worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months
  • At least 50 employees work within 75 miles of the employee's job site

An employment attorney can help you address the situation if you think you are entitled to paid leave and/or sick days but are not receiving it.

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