Virginia has enacted legislation (House Bill 2137) that requires employers to provide paid sick leave to certain home health workers. House Bill 2137 is effective July 1, 2021.
To be eligible for paid sick leave, an employee must work on average at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month and provide personal care, respite, or companion services to an individual who receives care under the state plan for medical assistance services.
Covered employees must accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Paid sick leave begins to accrue at the start of employment. However, employers are permitted to frontload the time (provide all paid sick leave that an employee is expected to accrue in the year at the beginning of each year).
Employers must allow employees to carry over paid sick leave to the year following the year in which it was accrued.
Covered employees may use up to 40 hours of earned paid sick leave per year when they or their family member:
- Has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
- Seeks a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or
- Needs preventive medical care.
Under the law, a family member includes:
- A biological child, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or individual to whom an employee stood in place of a parent when the individual was a minor, regardless of age;
- A biological parent, foster parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian of an employee or an employee's spouse, or individual who stood in place of a parent when the employee or employee's spouse was a minor child;
- A legal spouse;
- A grandparent, grandchild, or sibling, whether of a biological, foster, adoptive, or step relationship, of an employee or the employee's spouse;
- An individual for whom an employee is responsible for providing or arranging care, including helping that individual obtain diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health treatment; or
- Any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with an employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Pay During Leave:
Paid sick leave must be compensated at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits, including health care benefits, as an employee normally earns during work hours.
Relationship to Existing PTO policies:
An employer with a paid leave policy, such as a paid time off policy, that meets or exceeds the requirements of House Bill 2137 and provides covered employees with leave under the same terms and conditions, is not required to provide additional paid sick leave.
Paid sick leave must be granted upon an employee's oral, written, or electronic request. When the use of paid sick leave is foreseeable, the employee should make a good faith effort to provide notice in advance and to schedule the use of paid sick leave in a manner that does not unduly disrupt employer operations. When possible, employees should also include the expected duration of the absence.
An employer that requires notice of the need to use paid sick leave must provide a written policy that contains procedures for its employees to provide notice.
When paid sick leave lasts for three or more consecutive days, employers are permitted to require reasonable documentation of the need for such leave. If employers require documentation in these circumstances, they should do so consistently for all employees who are out for three or more consecutive days.
Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee to work an alternate shift to make up for the use of paid sick leave, or requiring that the employee search for or find a replacement worker to cover their paid sick leave hours.
Additionally, employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee for exercising their rights under the law.
Covered employers should review their policies, forms, practices, and supervisor training to ensure compliance with House Bill 2137. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.