Virginia Mandates Paid Sick Leave for Certain Home Health Workers

On March 30, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed into law Paid Sick Leave solely for the benefit of a limited class of home health workers. This legislation will go into effect on July 1, 2021. Home health workers entitled to accrue paid sick leave under the new law are specifically defined as those who work on average 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month and who provide personal care, respite, or companion services to an individual who receives consumer-directed services under the state plan for medical assistance.

Virginia Paid Sick Leave does not extend paid leave benefits to home health workers licensed, registered or certified by the Department of Health Professions, employed by a hospital licensed by the Department of Health and who work on average no more than 30 hours per month. Covered employees upon employment are entitled to begin accruing one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year unless the employer chooses to provide more.

This sick leave maybe used for (1) the employee’s own medical care or (2) care of a family member for medical care. In both instances, the medical care includes care, treatment and preventive treatment for mental and physical conditions. In addition to providing for paid leave, the legislation also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for exercising any rights under the Paid Sick Leave law.

Employers of home health workers need to review whether they employ any employees entitled to benefits under Paid Sick Leave and if so, whether their current leave policies provide sufficient benefits or whether they need to amend their policies to comply with this new law.

Our Labor & Employment Team stands ready to assist employers in reviewing and amending their policies.