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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Wages and Hours Worked > Work Hours and Other Pay Issues > Sick Leave   

Wages and Hours Worked:

 Work Hours and Other Pay Issues

 Sick Leave

 Frequently Asked Questions


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for vacations, sick leave or holidays (federal or otherwise). These benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee's representative). Also, if an employee quits his/her job before using all of his/her sick leave, under the FLSA the employer is not obligated to pay him/her for that time.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides covered and eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical situations of either the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family; however, in many instances paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave.

The FLSA and FMLA are administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration.





  • elaws FLSA Advisor - Addresses key wage and hour topics, including detailed explanations of what activities do and do not constitute time for which employees must be compensated, including time off from work due to illness.


  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Establishes minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards for private sector and government workers.
  • The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - Provides an entitlement of up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period to eligible, covered employees for the following reasons: 1) Birth and care of the eligible employee's child, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee; 2) Care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition; or 3) Care of the employee's own serious health condition.
  • 29 CFR Part 825 - Regulations pertaining to the FMLA.


  • State Labor Laws - Links to comparisons of state laws. Whether or not holidays, vacations or sick time must be granted to employees may be determined under the laws of a state.


  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
    Wage and Hour Division
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-3502
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact WHD
    Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

Phone Numbers