On May 9, 2017, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed SB 201 into law, which, where applicable, allows employees to use sick leave to care for an “immediate family member,” defined as “an employee’s child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, or parent or any dependents as shown in the employee’s most recent tax return.” The new law does not require private employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave, nor does it require employers providing such leave to grant a certain amount of sick leave. Rather, it only requires some employers who already provide paid sick leave to allow their employees to use such leave for an additional reason — to care for an immediate family member. However, covered employers may limit the number of hours an eligible employee may use sick leave for this reason to five earned days per year.

The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2017, does not apply to all employers or employees operating or working in Georgia. Individuals who work less than 30 hours per week are not “employees” for the purposes of the law. Also, businesses or individuals who do not employ at least 25 employees, as defined by the law, are not employers for the purposes of the new law. Further, the new law expressly exempts employers who provide their employees with an employee stock ownership plan, as provided in Section 4775(e)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code.

To ensure compliance, employers operating in Georgia should carefully consider whether their operations fall within the law’s scope.