Can Employers Deny a Sick Day Request?
Before calling in sick, you spend a few minutes revising what you’re going to say to your boss. Like most employees, you probably fear your employer will say no, and you’ll be forced to go to work sick.
Can an employer deny sick days off? In this article, we’ll explain if and when your employer can do it and what laws mandate sick leave so you don’t end up sick at work. We’ll also show you how you can use DoNotPay to ensure your sick leave request is rock-solid.
The answer is—sometimes.
Only two federal laws exist that regulate sick leave:
- The Family and Medical Act (FMLA)
- The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
Under the FMLA, all companies with at least 50 staff members must provide 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave to all employees within a 12-month period.
The EPSLA is a temporary act that provides ten days of paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic to all employees who test positive for the virus—regardless of the company’s size.
Both of these acts have qualifying reasons for sick leave—take a look at the following table to see what is considered a valid reason in each case:
|The FMLA||The EPSLA|
If you don’t meet the requirements, the employer is not obligated to approve your request.
The employer may require you to present a doctor’s note that proves your necessity for sick leave. Rules about the note vary depending on the law, but the general rule is to submit a doctor’s note if your leave lasts more than three days.
If you don’t have a note or the note is not valid, the employer can deny your request. To be valid, the note must contain:
- Examination date and time
- Recommended time off
- Contagious status (if necessary)
- Doctor’s name and signature
In addition to federal acts, there may be laws on a state or local level. Before applying for leave, you should check out your city, county, or state laws to see if you have another sick day rule to rely on.
If there’s a law about paid sick leave that affects your company, then yes. The EPSLA requires paid leave for COVID-19 patients in excess of $5,110 for ten days.
Whether your employer should provide paid time off also depends on state and local laws. Consult the following table for guides to state-specific regulations:
|New Jersey||District of Columbia||Ohio||Georgia|
Your employer may not punish you in any way unless they suspect (and can prove) your abuse of sick leave. Misuse usually manifests as:
- Repeated, unscheduled sick leave around weekends
- Repeated sick leave during undesirable shifts or duties
- Sick leave requests when other types get denied
You can call in sick via phone or, more conveniently, email. If you’re not sure what your request should look like, hand over the writing to the pros!
Our app will draft a professional sick leave request letter based on the information you provide and the laws that apply to your case. You only need to sign up for DoNotPay and do the following:
- Choose the Request Sick Leave feature
- Specify the state where your company is located
- Answer some questions about the company
- Insert the dates on which you’ll be absent from work
- Notify us if you want the app to send the request to your employer
If your employer doesn’t approve your sick leave request or, worse, fires you for taking time off, you can sue them using our Small Claims Court tool.
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