This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Louisiana.
Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Louisiana.
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.
No federal or state laws in the USA require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time in Louisiana.
Employers are free to decide whether or not to provide vacation time for employees, but must follow anything promised in employees’ contracts or company policies.
Though earned vacation time is considered a form of wages in Louisiana, the state does permit companies to implement a Use It or Lose It policy for PTO.
To be safe, companies should make sure to clearly state this policy in employees’ contracts and have written acknowledgement that employees know about it.
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.
Earned vacation time is considered a form of wages in Louisiana, and any unused vacation time must be paid out upon separation of employment (e.g. when an employee quits, is fired or is laid off).
Louisiana leave laws state that unused earned vacation time must be paid out regardless of the reason for separation, and Louisiana courts have ruled that employers cannot have a policy that voids this (such as an employee not giving sufficient notice when quitting).
Sick leave is not required by law in Louisiana.
Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Louisiana 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 official state holidays are observed in Louisiana:
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King, Jr Day|
|47 days before Easter||Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday)|
|2 days before Easter||Good Friday|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|November 11||Veterans Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
There is no requirement to allow employees a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays, and employees required to work on state holidays are not legally entitled to extra compensation (such as higher pay or a compensatory day off), unless promised in their employment contract.
Louisiana law requires companies with more than 25 employees to provide unpaid maternity leave of up to six weeks for “normal pregnancies” (pregnancies with no complications or resulting disabilities), and up to four months for “seriously disabling” pregnancies.
The FMLA also applies for new mothers, entitling new mothers to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a new child, as well as the placement of a new adoption or foster.
Paternity leave is not covered by law, but fathers have the same right to unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 12 weeks for the birth of their child, or a new adoption or fostered child.
There is no legal requirement to provide bereavement leave in Louisiana. It’s up to the employer to decide whether or not to offer bereavement leave, and whether it shall be paid or unpaid.
Employers must allow employees time off to serve jury duty, and must not discharge or take adverse action against the employee for doing so.
The employer must pay up to one day’s wages for any employees called to serve on a state petit or grand jury or central jury pool, and the employee cannot be required to take their own vacation time, sick leave or any other earned personal leave to cover this time.
There is no law requiring employers to allow employees leave in order to vote.
Employers with more than 20 employees must provide Bone Marrow Donor Leave, for employees who work for the employer for an average of 20 or more hours per week.
Bone Marrow Donor Leave allows up to 40 work hours of paid leave.
Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Louisiana, 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.
Anything not covered in Louisiana 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.