Employee Leave Laws-Overview

Employee Leave Laws-Overview

by Posted on: May 4, 2015Categories: HR & Compliance   

Employers may provide their employees with various types of paid or unpaid leave as part of their overall compensation packages, including vacation time, personal leave and sick leave. Employers have some flexibility when it comes to establishing or negotiating employee leave policies. However, federal laws (for example, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA) require covered employers to provide employees with leave in certain situations.

In addition to federal leave laws, South Carolina has employee leave laws regarding:

  • Jury duty leave;
  • Military leave; and
  • Bone marrow donation leave.

This Employment Law Summary includes a chart that provides a high-level overview of South Carolina’s employee leave laws, and suggests compliance steps for employers.

Overview of Employee Leave Laws


Jury Duty Leave Employers are prohibited from dismissing or demoting an employee for complying with a subpoena to testify in a court proceeding or to serve on a jury.
Military Leave In addition to the federal law USERRA, South Carolina law provides the following job protections for members of the National Guard or State Guard:

  • An employer may not deprive or obstruct employment in any way to a member of the National Guard due to the individual’s status as a member of the National Guard.
  • Reemployment rights to the employee’s previous position or to a position of like seniority, status and salary upon honorable release from state duty. An employee must apply for reemployment within five days following release from duty (or from hospitalization after release).
  • If an employee is no longer qualified for his or her previous employment, the employee must be placed in another position for which he or she is qualified and will provide appropriate seniority, status and salary.
Bone Marrow Leave While not required by law, South Carolina provides that employers with 20 or more employees may provide eligible employees with paid leave to donate bone marrow. To be eligible, an employee must work an average of 20 or more hours per week for the employer. The combined length of paid leaves may not exceed 40 work hours, unless the employer agrees.Employers may require verification by a physician regarding the purpose and length of each paid leave requested by the employee to donate bone marrow.

Compliance steps

It is important for South Carolina employers to understand when their employees are entitled to take time off from work, and the legal protections associated with such leaves. Employers that violate state or federal leave law requirements may be subject to government investigations, fines, employee lawsuits and significant penalties, fees and damage awards.

To minimize these risks, employers should review applicable federal and state leave law requirements and determine whether they have any compliance gaps to correct. This compliance review may be complex, especially in areas where federal and state leave laws overlap.

As part of the compliance review, employers should confirm that:

  • Employee handbooks and written policies and procedures have been updated to accurately describe employee leaves;
  • Human resources personnel, as well as managers and supervisors, are educated on how to administer employee leaves and receive ongoing training;
  • Employee leaves are administered on a consistent basis, and employees are educated on leave rights and requirements;
  • Recordkeeping systems accurately track and document employee leaves; and
  • Required notices and posters regarding leave laws are provided.



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