Advisories May 22, 2017

Labor & Employment Advisory: Georgia Enacts New Sick Leave Law

Executive Summary
Minute Read

Beginning July 1, many Georgia workers will be able to use their sick leave not just for themselves, but also to care for their immediate families. Our Labor & Employment Group examines the new law and what it means for employers.

  • SB 201
  • Definition of “immediate family members”
  • New cause of action?

Georgia recently enacted a new law requiring employers who offer sick leave to allow employees to use their sick leave to care for immediate family members. The law, SB 201, which takes effect on July 1, 2017, does not require employers who do not offer sick leave to implement sick leave policies, but pertains exclusively to employers who do offer sick leave.

The new law only applies to employers who employ 25 or more employees and to employees who work at least 30 hours per week. It does not apply to employers who offer an employee stock ownership plan (as fined by the Internal Revenue Code). The law requires covered employers to allow up to five days of existing sick leave per year to be used by employees to care for “immediate family members,” which includes employees’ children, spouses, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, and dependents. The law does not extend the amount of sick leave employees may earn or accrue, nor does it require employers to modify sick leave policies other than to allow some of that leave to be used to care for immediate family members.

The law does not create a new cause of action against employers, so it remains to be seen how violations of the law will be enforced. Furthermore, the law is slated to expire after three years, unless it is renewed by the General Assembly.


This advisory is published by Alston & Bird LLP to provide a summary of significant developments to our clients and friends. It is intended to be informational and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation. This material may also be considered attorney advertising under court rules of certain jurisdictions.


Media Contact
Alex Wolfe
Communications Director

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