I’m Oklahoma Workers’ Rights Attorney Lindsay McDowell. Is your employer required to provide you with sick leave? Unfortunately, the answer is no, generally. Oklahoma law does not require an employer to provide either paid or unpaid sick leave.
Now, an employer may make that a policy, and if that becomes a policy, they then in turn will have to provide that to all employees. However, you may be entitled to sick leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, which is a federal act that applies to employers who have more than 50 employees.
Sick Leave Under the Family Medical Leave Act
Your employer may have more than 50 employees even at more than one location, and so long as those locations are within a certain mile radius of each other, the FMLA will apply to require your employer to provide sick leave. Under the FMLA, an employee can obtain sick leave for up to 12 weeks for an illness of themselves, if they need to care for a direct family member who is ill, if there is an adoption in the family, or other circumstances which may trigger the FMLA leave.
If an employer is aware of any reason involving an employee that requires their leave that may trigger FMLA, they must offer you FMLA leave as an option, meaning if the employer knows that you are sick, that maybe you have a mental health issue, or if there’s some other chronic illness that you have that’s going on, then they must try to provide you and offer you with FMLA leave. However, I’d also encourage you to ask for FMLA leave if you know that you have some kind of situation that’s going to require some long-term leave for you.
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It is not required to be paid under the FMLA, but they are required to hold your employment position or a position similar to it while you’re out on leave. It can be confusing, and I’m happy to answer more questions for you. You can find information to reach me at OklahomaWorkersRights.com and I’m Lindsay McDowell, a FMLA violations lawyer in Oklahoma.