What is the law regarding paid sick time off?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the law regarding paid sick time off?

I called out of a shift and used paid-time off my employer told me I would have to find coverage for it. However, state law says that my employer can’t ask me to find coverage. Did I misread the law?

Asked on May 3, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are correct: if you have paid sick time, they cannot condition its use on you finding coverage; they can only require coverage if there is no (or you have used up, haven't qualfied for yet, etc.) sick time, so that you can't miss work without having your shift be covered. In that latter case, if you miss work without finding coverage, they could terminate you for the absence. But if you receive/have paid sick time, you have the legal right to use it, a benefit you worked for. They can ask you to, as a favor, help find coverage, but they cannot require it. If they won't let you use sick time you earned or take action against you for using it, you could bring a legal action (e.g. sue) them or contract the state department of labor.

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