leave policy

Take These 3 Steps When Making Company Leave Policies

Posted April 8, 2020 by Justworks in Benefits and Perks
During this unprecedented time, having a leave policy in place is more important than ever. We’ve got the basics to creating your leave policy.

Creating sound company leave policies will offer clarity to your employees, protect your company from legal pitfalls, and help solidify your business as a great place to work.

Making company leave policies that comply with the law and that offer value to your employees can be a tricky balancing act especially during an uncertain time.

Leave policies may include:

  • Vacation days
  • Sick days
  • Family and medical leave
  • Pregnancy disability leave
  • Parental leave
  • Personal leave
  • Time off to vote
  • Military leave
  • Holidays
  • Bereavement leave
  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, and crime victim leave
  • Blood, organ, and bone marrow donation leave
  • Volunteer emergency worker or first responder leave
  • Jury duty, court attendance, and witness leave

With that in mind, where do you start? In this guide, we outline some of the laws and issues you should consider when drafting leave policies.

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Here are the three major steps you’ll want to take when shaping your leave policies, whether that’s sick leave, paid time off, or parental leave.

STEP 1 - Know Your Laws

There are a wide range of leave policies employers must follow to stay compliant with the law. It’s important to inform yourself on federal, state, and local leave laws and check with an attorney to ensure you’ve gotten it right.

One of the major laws passed by Congress in response to COVID-19, is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) .

The FFCRA temporarily mandates employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave for certain specific COVID-19 related qualifying reasons. The FFCRA allows covered employers to claim employer payroll tax credits to cover the cost of providing paid leave required under the FFCRA.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements under the FFCRA and other considerations for employers regarding COVID-19, visit the DOL’s COVID-19 website, which includes FFCRA guidance for employers and employees, and answers to frequently asked questions about the FFCRA. Businesses should also consult their legal advisor if they have questions regarding their obligations under the FFCRA.

Some states and cities have expanded paid sick leave, paid family leave, and/or disability benefits in response to COVID-19. In this rapidly changing environment, employers should continue to monitor changes in federal, state, and local laws relating to COVID-19.

STEP 2 - Learn How Insurance Can Help

Purchasing certain types of insurance can help cover the costs of employee leave. For example, almost all employers are required to pay into workers’ compensation. That, and other insurance like disability insurance, may provide benefits for employees when they are on a leave due to illness, injury, or even pregnancy and childbirth.

STEP 3 - Draft Your Company’s Leave Policies

When drafting your company leave policies, make sure they comply with applicable laws, incorporate any available insurance, and your company’s other offerings. Once you’ve established the legal baseline of what’s required, you may want to add extra offerings like better paid parental leave to recruit top talent in the long run.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.