South Carolina Leave Laws

May 8th 2024

In South Carolina, leave laws protect the well-being and work-life balance of employees. There are numerous types of leave for employers in South Carolina to be aware of. The state categorizes leave into required and optional types, each with distinct guidelines. This article delves into South Carolina’s leave laws, describing the rules applicable to employees working in the public and private sector.

This Article Covers

South Carolina Required Leave
South Carolina Non-Required Leave

South Carolina Required Leave

Employers in South Carolina are legally required to provide employees certain types of leave. The types of mandatory leave include:

1. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for family and medical leave in South Carolina, an employee must have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months, and worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that period. 
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks in a year. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: This leave can be taken for various reasons, including the birth and care of a newborn child, adoption, taking care of a family member with a serious health condition, or inability to work due to a serious health condition. 
  • Pay: Family and medical leave is unpaid.

2. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees are protected from disciplinary actions by employers when attending jury duty.
  • Duration: Depends on the length of the jury duty.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees can use this leave when summoned to serve on a jury or when subpoenaed to attend court, provided they are not personally benefiting from the litigation.
  • Pay: State employees receive their regular wages during jury duty and may keep any witness fees or travel reimbursements. Private sector employees may have to use vacation time for jury duty and typically do not receive pay unless their employer chooses to offer it.

3. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: Military leave is available to all employees serving in the armed forces, as per the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Employees must notify their employer in advance, ensure their active duty time does not exceed five years, and have a non-negative discharge.
  • Duration: As required by the period of deployment or military duty.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Fulfilling military service obligations.
  • Pay: The leave is generally unpaid, but employees are guaranteed to regain their previous job with all benefits and seniority accrued before leave upon return.

4. Bone Marrow Donation Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who work in establishments with at least 20 employees in South Carolina are eligible for bone marrow leave, if they work for an average of at least 20 hours per week. Note that the employer may require medical certification detailing the reason and duration of the leave.
  • Duration: The maximum leave duration is capped at 40 hours, unless extended by employer approval.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For donating bone marrow. 
  • Pay: This leave is paid, subject to the conditions set by the employer.

 5. Emergency Response Leave (State Employees)

  • Eligibility: South Carolina state employees with certification from the American Red Cross are eligible for this type of leave. However, employees will need approval from their employer. 
  • Duration: 10 days per year. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To assist in disaster relief efforts. 
  • Pay: State employees on emergency response leave are entitled to their usual rate of pay.

6. Sick Leave (State Employees)

  • Eligibility: Public employees in South Carolina receive annual sick leave. 
  • Duration: Employees can accumulate up to 15 days of sick leave annually. Up to 10 of these days can be used as family sick leave.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Sick leave can be used for managing personal health needs or for caring for ill family members.
  • Pay: This leave is typically paid.

7. Administrative Leave (State Employees)

  • Eligibility: State employees who suffer from injuries on the job are placed on administrative leave instead of sick leave.
  • Duration: No longer than 180 calendar days. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Specifically used when employees are injured on the job, providing them with an alternative to using sick leave.
  • Pay: Administrative leave is paid.

8. Bereavement Leave (State Employees)

  • Eligibility: Only state employees are eligible for this type of leave. To take this leave, the employee must inform their supervisor and provide a statement that includes the name of the deceased and their relationship to them.
  • Duration: Up to 3 days. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: When a state employee experiences the loss of an immediate family member.
  • Pay: This leave is paid.

9. Voting Time Leave (State Employees)

  • Eligibility: Employees whose work schedule prevents them from voting during their non-working hours.
  • Duration: Up to 2 hours.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Used specifically for voting when employees do not have sufficient time outside of working hours.
  • Pay: This leave is paid by the employer.

10. Vacation and Holiday Leave (State Employees)

  • Eligibility: Full-time state employees have a right to vacation and holiday leave. 
  • Duration: Vacation leave days accumulate based on the length of employment and work schedule. For example, employees who work a 37.5-hour, five-day workweek can accrue up to 30 vacation leave days per year if they have been with the state for 22 years or more. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Used for personal time off including vacations and holidays.
  • Pay: Vacation leave is paid, and the accumulation rate increases with the employee’s tenure.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday 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
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

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

South Carolina Non-Required Leave

In South Carolina, there is no statutory requirement for private employers to provide certain types of leave, including sick leave, bereavement leave, vacation, holiday leave, or voting time leave. The provision of these benefits is left to the discretion of the employer, meaning they can choose whether to offer these benefits based on their own company policies. As a result, employee entitlements in these areas can vary significantly from one employer to another, depending on the terms outlined in employment contracts or company policy documents.

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.