South Dakota Leave Laws

May 8th 2024

Taking leave is essential for the well-being and productivity of employees, and as such, it is governed by federal and state laws in South Dakota. These laws ensure that employees have access to various types of leave for reasons such as vacations, holidays, bereavement, and voting. This article discusses the leave laws in South Dakota, breaking them down into mandatory and non-mandatory categories, each with specific rules that may differ for employees in the public and private sectors.

This Article Covers

South Dakota Required Leave
South Dakota Non-Required Leave

South Dakota Required Leave

In South Dakota, there are specific types of leave that employers must legally provide to their employees. These mandatory leave types are stipulated by law and include several categories each defined by state regulations:

1. Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

  • Eligibility: Employees eligible for family and medical leave (FMLA) must have worked for their employer for at least a year, accumulated 1,250 hours of work, and be at a location where 50 or more employees are employed within 75 miles.
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under FMLA, with an additional 14 weeks for caring for a family member injured in the line of duty.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: FMLA leave may be used for various reasons including maternity/paternity leave, bonding with a newborn, caring for a seriously ill family member, personal medical conditions that prevent working, and household care during a family member’s military duty. Extended leave is available for caring for family members who are injured service members.
  • Pay: The leave is unpaid, though it ensures job protection and continuation of health benefits during the leave period.

2. Court and Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees in South Dakota may be granted court and jury duty leave, subject to specific conditions depending on the circumstances surrounding their legal involvement. If the employee is required to testify or is subpoenaed, they will receive jury duty leave. However, if they are simply a witness in a private legal matter unrelated to their role at work, they will have to instead take unpaid vacation time or use basic leave without pay. Official paperwork must be filed with the employer to request time off for jury duty.
  • Duration: The duration of the trial or court appearance.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Attending court for jury duty, testifying, or other legal obligations.
  • Pay: Employees required to testify or who are subpoenaed receive paid leave; those witnessing in private legal matters unrelated to work use unpaid leave.

3. Voting Time Leave

  • Eligibility: If an employee cannot find time to vote outside of working hours due to job duties, they may take voting time leave. 
  • Duration: Up to two hours.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Voting during election season when work schedules conflict with polling hours.
  • Pay: Paid leave is provided for the duration necessary to vote.

4. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: Eligibility for military leave extends to permanent employees who are members of the Reserve or National Guard.
  • Duration: Military service leave can be accrued up to 40 hours annually. Training leave duration depends on the training period specified by the reserve or national guard commander.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: There are two kinds of military leave: 1) service leave, which is used for military-related services, and 2) training leave, which is specifically for attending training sessions. Training leave is permitted upon request. To request training leave, the employee must obtain an order or letter from their Reserve or National Guard Commander stating the dates of their training period, and submit it to the appointing authority 15 days prior to their departure for training.

South Dakota Non-Required Leave

In South Dakota, employers are not obligated by law to grant employees leave of absence for certain circumstances. Non-mandatory types of leave include:

1. Vacation Leave

In South Dakota, while vacation leave is not legally required, employers who choose to offer it must adhere to specific conditions. Eligible employees, excluding trainees, begin accruing vacation time from the start of their employment. However, those who haven’t worked continuously for six months are not entitled to payment for accrued vacation upon leaving the company. Terminated employees may have the option to receive their accrued vacation as a lump sum payment.

2. Sick Days

Employers in South Dakota are not obligated to grant their employees a leave of absence, whether paid or unpaid, for reasons of sickness. They may, instead, establish specific policy guidelines for taking sick days, which must cover the accrual and use of these days.

3. Bereavement Leave

Bereavement leave is not a legal requirement in South Dakota. Employers who choose to offer it, however, must clearly outline the policy in writing or display it alongside other employment policies. Whether or not bereavement leave is paid is up to the employer’s discretion.

4. Holiday Leave

Employers in South Dakota are not required by law to grant their employees paid or unpaid holiday leave. Companies often establish their own policies regarding holiday leave, which can vary widely between organizations.

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 rights of employees in South Dakota, you can read our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in South Dakota, and Your rights as an hourly employee in South Dakota. You can also learn more about South Dakota 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.