5 Things to Know About Paid Leave

Think you understand the different types of paid leave? Here’s a breakdown of five types of paid leave policies to test your knowledge.


Small business owners understand the importance of a flexible workplace. According to a 2016 NFIB small business poll, 73 percent of small business owners offer their full time employees paid time off, and 67 percent offer two weeks or more of leave without government mandate.

However, paid time off isn’t restricted to just beachside vacations. From caring for a family member to welcoming a new child, here’s what you need to know about the five types of paid leave to help create a paid leave policy that works for you and your business.



No state laws, nor the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, require employers to provide payment for time off work for vacations or federal holidays. These benefits are common, but they’re decided upon between employers and their employees



This federal law under the U.S. Department of Labor is one of the most well-known types of mandated leave, but it only applies to employers with 50 or more employees. FMLA entitles eligible employees to 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a child; to care for an adopted or foster child within a year of placement; to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; or to care for their own serious health condition. It also allows 26 work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.



For many years, no federal or state law required an employer of any size to provide paid parental leave, but some states have begun to require certain businesses to offer paid or unpaid leave. The FMLA also covers this type of leave.



The Americans with Disabilities Act does not specifically require employers to provide medical or disability related leave to employees, but it does require that employers make reasonable accommodations for qualified employees with disabilities if these accommodations are necessary to perform essential job functions or benefit from the same opportunities and rights as nondisabled employees.



Numerous states have begun to mandate paid sick leave (with varying amounts of time off required). Paid sick leave proposals at the county and city level are also a growing trend. Karen Harned, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, says paid sick leave issues are the ones that NFIB members deal with the most.