There is no Georgia law that requires private employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave, 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 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.
Under Georgia law, full-time public employees compensated on a semimonthly basis earn 5 hours of sick leave at the end of each pay period. Full-time public employees compensated on a monthly basis earn 10 hours of sick leave at the end of each pay period. Part-time employees who work 20 hours or more per week earn sick leave on a prorated basis. Sick leave is cumulative for up to 720 hours; leave beyond 720 hours at the end of any month is forfeited, but may be restored to the employee in the case of a serious disability or illness that exhausts available sick leave time (GA Comp. R. and Regs. Sec. 478-1-.18 PAR. 18.301 et seq.).