There is no North Dakota law requiring private sector employers to provide employees paid or unpaid sick leave. It is important to remember, however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may have a legal obligation to grant it. 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 should be notified of the changes.
Separation from employment. If an employee separates from employment voluntarily, a private employer may withhold payment for accrued paid time off (PTO) if:
(1) At the time of hiring, the employer provided the employee written notice of the limitation on payment of accrued PTO;
(2) The employee has been employed by the employer for less than 1 year; and
(3) The employee gave the employer less than 5 days’ written or verbal notice.
If all of these requirements are not met, employers are required to pay employees for all PTO earned or awarded at the time of termination. No employment contract or policy may provide for forfeiture of that right.
Effective August 1, 2015, an employer will no longer be required to compensate employees for unused PTO or vacation time “awarded” by the employer but not yet “earned” by the employee if the company has a written policy limiting PTO payouts upon termination.
Although the terms “awarded” and “earned” are not defined in the statute, an employer with a carefully drafted policy could presumably “award” all PTO (or a portion of the amount earned for the year) in January but require that it be “earned” at a certain rate throughout the year. Under such a policy, employees could take PTO as needed, but the employer would ...