There is no New Hampshire law that requires private employers to grant their employees sick leave, although many employers do grant it as a benefit. It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may have a legal obligation to grant it. Some courts have ruled that policies published in employee handbooks may constitute implied contracts, which are binding and enforceable. Thus, employers should regularly review policy statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that they accurately reflect current policies. If not, they should be changed, and employees notified of the changes.
Full-time state employees do not accrue sick leave while in the first six months of employment. After completing their first 6 months, state employees are credited with 71/2 days of sick leave and begin to accrue sick leave at a rate dependent on years of service. State employees may use sick leave for absences due to illness, injury, medical and dental appointments, and death in the immediate family. Employees may use up to 4 days of sick leave for a death in the immediate family and up to 5 days of sick leave a year to care for dependents. The rules also specify that sick leave may be used during the period an employee is disabled because of pregnancy (NH Admin. Rules Per. Sec. 1204.01et seq.; Sec. 1209.01).