There is no Rhode Island law requiring private employers to provide employees with sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as an important employee 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 held that under certain circumstances policies published in employee handbooks may constitute implied contracts that are binding and enforceable. 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.