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One of the trickiest things about running your own back-office is navigating the complex web of state and local laws. Paid sick leave (PSL) is an area where recruiters need to be especially careful. With no paid leave laws on the federal level, some states and cities are taking matters into their own hands. Most recently, the city of Portland, Ore., passed a sick leave ordinance that will go into effect on Jan 1, 2014, according to HR Hero.

If you are running your own back-office, you are responsible, as the employer of your contractors, for providing PSL when required. Here is a quick breakdown of the paid sick leave laws currently on the books in specific areas:

Portland, Ore. – Employers with six or more employees will be required starting 1/1/2014 to provide PSL to those working 240 or more hours per year within the city limits. This will apply to employers even if they are not based in Portland and even if the employee only works in the city occasionally, as long as they meet the 240 hour per year requirement. Employees will earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. They can also carry up to 40 unused hours over. This law will also require employers with less than six employees to provide them with one hour of UNPAID sick leave for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours per year.

San Francisco – All San Francisco employers are required to provide one hour of PSL to employees for every 30 hours worked. The maximum is 40 hours per year for small businesses (10 or fewer employees) and 72 for larger employers (more than 10). Unused leave carries over every year, not to exceed the maximum limit. Visit the City & County of San Francisco Labor Standard Enforcement site for more details.

SeattleSeattle’s PSL law applies to employers with a total of five or more full-time employees. If any of those employees work at least 240 hours per year within Seattle’s city limits, the employer is required to provide one hour of leave for every 40 hours they work. The maximum hours range from 40 to 72 depending on the size of the company. This law is unique in that it not only allows employees to use the time to care for themselves or a family member in the case of injury or illness, it also can be used as “safe leave” if their place of business has been closed by a public official for health or safety reasons.

Washington, D.C. – Under the Washington D.C. Paid Sick Leave Act, employees must be employed for a year without a break in service and work at least 1,000 hours prior to their request to take time off. The law excludes the following types of workers: independent contractors, students, health care workers who have opted into a premium pay program, and restaurant servers and bartenders who receive both wages and tips. The number of hours accrued depends on the employer’s size but cannot exceed seven days a year.

Connecticut – With the only state-wide PSL law so far, Connecticut requires employers with 50 or more employees in the state to provide up to 40 hours of PSL. The tricky part about this law is that it only applies to “service workers” – those who are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements and who fall into one of the positions listed in the legislation. You can view a list and other details about the law at

Just because you don’t have contractors working in these areas doesn’t mean you don’t need to be concerned. New York City is also close to passing legislation, and Philadelphia is considering its own PSL law. Chances are that more will follow suit. As a contract staffing recruiter running your own back-office, it is important that you stay on top of these developments and make sure you are following any applicable PSL laws.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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