This post will guide you through the employee leave laws for businesses and workers based in the state of Alabama.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations in regards to vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Alabama.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
In the United States, no federal or state law requires employees to receive paid or unpaid vacation time.
If employers choose to provide vacation time or paid time off, they must follow whatever is stated in employees’ contracts or company policy.
Alabama law does not refer to Use It or Lose It leave policies, making it legal for employers to implement Use It or Lose It for both vacation time and sick leave.
Use It or Lose It leave policies mean that any leave not used at the end of the year is forfeited, and not carried over to the following year. Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.
Alabama does not require unused PTO to be paid out upon termination of employment (e.g. when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off).
Alabama law does not require private employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.
Some state employees, however, may earn four hours of sick leave for every two weeks of service (up to a maximum of 150 days).
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Alabama must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.
The following days are official state holidays in Alabama:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King, Jr & Robert E. Lee’s Birthday|
|3rd Monday in February||George Washington & Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday|
|47 days before Easter||Mardi Gras (observed only in Baldwin and Mobile Counties)|
|4th Monday in April||Confederate Memorial Day|
|Last Monday in May||National Memorial Day|
|1st Monday in June||Jefferson Davis’ Birthday|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|2nd Monday in October||Columbus Day & Fraternal Day & American Indian Heritage Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
Alabama law does not require private sector employers to give employees paid or unpaid leave for state holidays. There is also no law requiring additional holiday pay (pay above an employee’s usual rate) for working on a state holiday.
There is no state law requiring Alabama employers to provide paid or unpaid maternity leave.
Eligible employees under the FMLA are however entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their newborn child, or to care for a newly adopted or fostered child.
There is no state law covering paternity leave in Alabama, though the FMLA applies the same to new fathers, providing up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave.
There is no state law covering bereavement leave in Alabama. Whether or not employers provide paid (or unpaid) bereavement leave is up to their own discretion, though they are required to follow anything promised in employees’ contracts.
Alabama leave laws states employers must provide paid leave for employees summoned for jury duty.
Employees must receive paid leave (paid at their usual rate of pay) for all the time spent at their summons and while serving on the jury, and employers are not allowed to require or request employees use their earned leave, such as vacation, PTO or sick leave, to cover their time spent on jury duty.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Alabama, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.
Employees who are registered to vote must be granted one hour of unpaid leave to vote in any election (state or federal). The employee must provide reasonable notice to their employer of when they intend to take this leave.
Anything not covered in Alabama state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.
However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.
For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.