Alabama Leave Laws
No federal or state law requires employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time for their employees. However, if employers choose to offer a vacation leave, paid or unpaid, to their employees it must comply with applicable state law or employment contract. Vacation, both paid and unpaid, is a mandatory subject of collective bargaining in a unionized workplace and may be governed by a collective bargaining agreement.
An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment, whether by quit, discharge, or layoff.
An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks’ notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See ISS International Service Systems v. Alabama Motor Express, 686 So.2d 1184 (Ala. App. 1996).
An employer is required to pay an accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Co. v. Hilson, 669 So.2d 832 (Ala. Sup. Ct. 1995); ISS International Service Systems v. Alabama Motor Express, 686 So.2d 1184 (Ala. App. 1996).
The rollover policy
- Statutory Provisions Addressing Vacation Pay
Alabama does not have any state statute governing the payment of vacation time (see Amoco Fabrics and Fibers Co. v. Hilson, 669 So. 2d 832, 835 (Ala. 1995)).
- Use-It-or-Lose-It Policy
Not addressed by state statute. This depends on the employer’s contract and policy.
- Payment of Accrued Vacation on Termination
Not expressly addressed by state statute. However, if an employer communicates a paid vacation policy to employees, it may not unilaterally revoke that policy after a performance by employees. For example, employees must be specifically notified in advance if the employer decides it will no longer pay accrued, unused vacation at termination. (Amoco, 669 So. 2d at 835.)
No federal or state law in Alabama requires employers to pay out an employee’s accrued vacation, accrued sick leave or other paid time off (PTO) at the termination of employment.
Accrued sick leave
Employers with less than 50 employees do not need to offer any type of sick leave benefits to their employees. Those with 50 or more must provide the requirements under the FMLA. It is up to each individual employer to offer sick leave benefits outside of the minimum federal requirements.
Maternity, Paternity, FMLA
Alabama has no additional laws regarding Maternity and Paternity leave. Expecting and new parents are entitled to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Disability Act. For more information, look under the section Federal laws, Family and Medical Leave Act and under General Information, Maternity, Paternity and FMLA.
Jury Duty Leave
Employers must provide their full-time employees with job-protected, paid time off from work to perform their duty as jurors. Employees must provide their employers with jury summons, the next day they receive them.
The employer may be able to deduct wages the employee received for serving as a juror from the employee’s compensation. An employer is not allowed to require an employee to use unpaid leave, sick leave, annual or vacation days for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty, participating in the jury selection process, or actually serving on a jury.
No federal or state law require an employer to provide the employee with paid or unpaid bereavement leave or with any time off to organize or attend a close family member’s funeral.
Alabama law requires that all employees who are registered to vote must be permitted to take necessary time off from work, up to one hour of unpaid leave, to vote in any municipal, county, state or federal primary or general election. Employees must provide reasonable notice to their employers in order to take time off to vote. The employer is permitted to specify the hours during which the employee may be absent from work. The employer is not required to provide the leave, if an employee’s work schedule begins at least two hours after the polls open, or ends at least one hour prior to the polls closing.
Alabama Stat. §§ 31-12-1 and following
State National Guard and militia members called to active duty for at least 30 consecutive days or for federally funded duty for homeland security have the same leave and reinstatement rights and benefits guaranteed under USERRA. Any employee of a public educational entity in this state who is called into active service in any of the armed forces of the United States during the war on terrorism which commenced in September 2001, shall receive from his or her employer department or agency compensation in an amount which is equal to the difference between the lower active duty military pay and the higher public salary which he or she would have continued to receive if not called to active service. While, the governing body of any local governmental entity in this state may provide salary differential for any public employee of the entity who is called into active service in any of the armed forces of the United States during the war on terrorism which commenced in September 2001. Public employees also have additional health and retirement benefits under statute 31-12-7.
In addition to the federal law USERRA, Alabama law provides military members with paid leave for days they are called to serve in the field, coast defense, or other training or service ordered under federal laws governing the U.S. Reserves. The Employer must pay a maximum of 168 hours per calendar year to an employee engaged in active state service. Employers are required to provide employees with benefits, such as sick leave or annual leave.