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South Dakota FMLA

All Employers


All employees are required to treat pregnancy as any other temporary disability in terms of employment policies and practices.


Employers may not discriminate on basis of sex or marital status when providing leave or other benefits.

State Employers

The state has adopted FMLA provisions for state employees. For the 12 weeks provided under FMLA, employees may use a combination of sick, personal and vacation leave, and leave without pay.

Sick Leave

  • State employees earn 14 days of sick leave per year.
  • Sick leave may be used for personal illness, pregnancy and related conditions, exposure to contagious diseases, eye and dental care, medical examinations; or treatmentin approved centers for alcohol abuse, psychiatric care or counseling.
  • If an employee becomes sick or is injured while on vacation leave, they may choose to take sick leave instead.
  • The personnel bureau has the discretion to grant up to 28 days of sick leave to an employee with at least one year of service, if all other leave has been exhausted.

Personal Leave

State employees may use up to 40 hours of accumulated sick leave annually as personal leave for the following reasons:

  • Death in the immediate family.
  • Temporary care of immediate family member.
  • Volunteer police or rescue work.
  • State military reserve duty or National Guard duty.
  • For other reasons as defined by the state's career service commission

Immediate Family

  • Generally, South Dakota law allows up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for immediate family as defined by FMLA. However, for personal leave, the state's definition of immediate family is as follows: A spouse, child (biological, adoptive, step, foster and a child under the age of 18 for which the employee has been appointed guardian), parent, sibling, parent and child in law, grandparent, and grandchild.
  • A spouse is a husband or wife as recognized under South Dakota law.
  • Because South Dakota has a broader definition of immediate family, state employees may use both state law and the FMLA to obtain greater benefits than those provided by each law by itself.

Leave Without Pay

  • Approved leave of up to 12 weeks without pay is permitted for state employees.
  • The leave must be approved in writing by the proper authority.
  • Leave may be granted even if there is unused accrued annual leave.
  • The employee earns no leave credits during the unpaid leave.

Donated Leave

  • If an employee has exhausted all leave options, the employee may be eligible to receive up to 2,080 hours of donated leave for a terminal illness, or 1,040 hours for a life threatening injury or illness.
  • For every four hours of sick leave donated by an employee, the recipient employee receives one hour of sick leave.
  • For every one hour of vacation leave donated by an employee, the recipient employee receives one hour of vacation leave.
  • An employee may receive donated leave when a spouse, child or parent is terminally ill or facing life threatening illness or injury.
  • Donated leave stops when leave reaches 12 weeks of FMLA leave, when the family member recovers, or 5 days after the family member dies.
  • A written request to the bureau commissioner is required for donated leave.
  • Sick or vacation leave is not accrued while on donated leave.

State Employers

Military Leave

Public employees who are reservists, members of the National Guard or other organized units or who will go through military training for 15 or fewer days are entitled to be reinstated with same status and pay earned at the time of leave.

Family or medical leave in South Dakota

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