Georgia Leave Laws

January 8th 2024

Acknowledging the significance of employee well-being and fostering a productive work environment, the significance of taking time off from work cannot be emphasized enough.

Under federal law, employers are not legally required to compensate workers for unworked time. However, many employers still offer time off to their staff, either with or without pay. 

This article will explore the legal responsibilities regarding leave in Georgia and the various types of leaves available to employees.

It’s worth noting that there may be varying regulations for employers in the public and private sectors.

In Georgia, there are two categories of leave days: mandatory and non-mandatory.

This Article Covers

Georgia Required Leave
Georgia Non-Required Leave

Georgia Required Leave

Georgia employers are legally obligated to grant specific types of leave to their employees. Below is a comprehensive overview of the different categories of mandated leave in Georgia:

1. Sick Leave (Public Employers) –

  • Eligibility: Full-time public employees.
  • Duration: 15 days (3 weeks).
    However, employees can’t accrue more than 3 weeks, and they can only keep up to 90 days (720 hours) of sick leave before they lose any extra time.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For an array of reasons including illness or injury.

2. Holiday Leave (Public Employers) –

  • Eligibility: State employers.
  • Duration: Up to 12 paid holidays to their employees each year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: On holidays, state offices should remain closed. In case an employee is required to work on a state holiday, they should be compensated with an alternative day off. If a holiday falls on a rest day, it can be observed on a given day.

3. Annual Leave –

  • Eligibility: Georgia employees can enjoy annual leave.
  • Duration: As employees stay longer in service, their accrued paid leave increases as per the following scheme: 15 days per year/10 hours per month for the first 5 years of service, 18 days per year/12 hours per month for the next 5 years, and 21 days per year/14 hours per month after 10 years of service. It’s important to note that the maximum leave one can accrue is 45 days (360 hours) since anything above this limit is forfeited.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Annual Leave can be used for vacation or any other reason to take time off work.

4. Family and Medical Leave – 

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for unpaid leave under Family and Medical Leave benefits in Georgia, individuals must work for the state for at least 12 months (or 1,250 hours).
  • Duration: Up to 12 work weeks a year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: It applies to situations such as an employee or their family member suffering from a serious illness, taking care of a newborn, and more.

5. Jury Leave–

  • Eligibility: To ensure that every jury is made up of impartial and responsible members, Georgia law requires employers to give employees time off (with or without pay) to serve on a jury. As a Georgia citizen, serving on a jury is a duty that cannot be avoided.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve on a jury or when subpoenaed as a witness.

6. Voting Leave –

  • Eligibility: As per the law, all workers in Georgia have the right to voting leave.
  • Duration: A 2-hour off period, whether compensated or not, to workers who elect to exercise their right to vote on election day.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To vote in any local, regional, state, or comparable election.

7. Military Leave –

  • Eligibility: Federal or state employees are entitled to receive paid or unpaid military leave.
  • Duration: Up to five years for military service and for a maximum of six months during a four-year period to attend training.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: If an employee decides to leave their job to perform military service or to attend training.

Georgia Non-Required Leave

In Georgia, employers have the discretion to offer certain types of leave to their employees, as it is not legally mandated. These benefits may be selectively provided to specific employees based on the employer’s decision.

Employers may not be required to offer employees leave days in the following situations:

1. Sick Leave (Private Employers)

As per the law, private employers do not have any obligation to grant their employees paid or unpaid leave in case of sickness.

2. Holiday Leave (Private Employer)

As a private employer, it is not mandatory to offer holiday leave to your employees or to pay them for their time off. Additionally, you have the right to ask employees to work on holidays without any obligation to pay them extra compensation.

Here is a table of official US holidays:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. 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

3. Bereavement Leave

When a family member dies, some people may take Bereavement Leave. However, in Georgia, there is no specific law that governs bereavement leave. Instead, it is up to individual companies to create their own policies and guidelines.

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

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.