Alabama Leave Laws

April 11th 2024

Taking a leave of absence from work is key to ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees. It also enables workers to attend to their civic responsibilities.

This article provides a guideline for understanding the leave laws in Alabama, exploring the different types of leave available and employee entitlements.

Alabama provides two types of leave: required and non-required. Federal and state regulations for required leave overlap. It is important to note that regulations for private and public employees may differ.

This Article Covers

Alabama Required Leave
Alabama Non-Required Leave

Alabama Required Leave

In Alabama, employees are entitled to certain types of leave, especially state employees. The types of mandatory leave include:

1. Holiday Leave (Public Employees)

  • Eligibility: In Alabama several days each year are designated as state holidays. Public-sector employees are entitled to paid leave on these days. If employees are required to work these days, they must receive compensatory leave on an alternative day, or be compensated for the unused leave at their normal pay rate.
  • Duration: For the duration of the holiday.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: The occurrence of a federal or state recognised holiday.

2. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Eligibility: The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides covered employees with leave. To be eligible, employees must have worked at least 12 months for an employer and at least 1,250 hours. All state employees, public and private elementary or secondary school employees, and workers employed in companies that have at least 50 workers are eligible to receive this leave
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Reasons for taking leave include the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, due to a serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.

3. Voting Leave

  • Eligibility: All employers must allow registered employees time off to vote. However, if the polls open two hours before an employee’s shift or one hour after their shift ends, the employer may opt not to grant leave. The employer may specify which hours the employee can take leave of absence.
  • Duration: Up to one hour of unpaid leave to cast their votes.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election.

4. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employers are obligated by law to grant paid time off to any employee summoned for jury service. It is forbidden for employees to face any negative impacts for fulfilling this civic duty. The employee is required to show the jury summons to their employer the next working day after receiving the summons.
  • Duration:For the days required to serve as a juror in court.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: When an employee is summoned for jury duty.
  • Pay: Full-time employees are entitled to receive their usual wages, minus the fee or compensation received for serving as a juror.

5. Disaster Response Leave for American Red Cross Volunteers

  • Eligibility: Any employee of a state agency who is a certified Disaster Services Volunteer for the American Red Cross, is permitted to take leave during an emergency, without any loss of pay, overtime, vacation, or sick time.
  • Duration: Up to 15 workdays in 12 months.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To respond to emergencies such as natural disasters. The disaster must be designated at level IV and above in the American National Red Cross Regulations and Procedures.
  • Pay: Employees are entitled to receive their regular rate of pay during leave.

6. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: All state employees who are active members of the Alabama National Guard or Naval Militia, or member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard Reserves, is entitled to leave of absence without loss of pay, holiday or sick leave.  In addition, employers are also required to follow federal law. Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) both public and private-sector employers must grant leave for military service.
  • Duration: Up to 168 working hours per year of leave following state laws. Up to 5 years of unpaid leave under federal laws.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For active duty, training or any other type of service.
  • Pay: Alabama laws entitle state employees to receive their regular pay for 168 working hours of leave. However, the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that private employees are not required to grant paid military leave as it violates the Alabama Constitution. The federal USERRA does not require employers to provide paid leave.

Alabama Non-Required Leave

Like many states, Alabama has no legal requirements for employers to provide employees with time-off for vacation, sickness, or holiday purposes. Types of leave which are not mandatory include:

1. Sick Leave

In Alabama, employers are not obligated to offer sick leave benefits, whether paid or unpaid, to their employees.

2. Bereavement Leave

In Alabama, employers are not required to offer bereavement leave to employees. However, this rule does not apply to individuals under the state Merit System, legislative personnel, officers, or Legislative Reference Service personnel, who are eligible for up to three days of paid bereavement leave, according to AL Code § 36-26-36.3 (2016).

3. Vacation Leave

The US is famously referred to as a “no-vacation nation.” In Alabama, employers are not obligated to provide employees with vacation leave. Whether an employee has the right to vacation leave is determined by mutual agreement between the employer and employee or by company policies. If a paid vacation leave is promised, it must be granted in accordance with the terms specified in the employment contract.

4. Holiday Leave (Private Employers)

Private employers are not mandated to offer holiday leave to employees, either paid or unpaid. Furthermore, they are not obligated to pay employees any additional wages if they work on holidays.

The official holidays observed in Alabama can be found in the table below:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Day after Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

 If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Alabama, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Alabama, and your rights as an hourly employee in Alabama. You can also learn more about Alabama Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.