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Blog banner of Ohio PTO Laws

Ohio PTO Laws: A Quick Overview of Paid Time Off Regulations in Ohio

Ohio PTO laws are essential compliance requirements. As an employer, you must know the state employment laws to ensure compliance, create a fair workplace, and mitigate legal risks. This article offers an in-depth exploration of crucial Ohio PTO laws, including at-will employment and more. Recognizing these laws ensures legal compliance and promotes a healthy employer-employee relationship in Ohio’s evolving employment landscape.

By understanding the essential requirements of the Ohio PTO laws, employers can navigate potential pitfalls, uphold legal obligations, and promote fairness and equity in the workplace.

Ohio is one of the several states in the United States that adheres to the doctrine of “at-will” employment. According to this doctrine, the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason. When used correctly, the at-will doctrine forms an employment framework where employers and employees can end their working relationship as needed.

However, there are notable exceptions to this doctrine, which are crucial for employers to understand.

Contractual Exceptions: 

Ohio labor laws mandate that if an employment contract exists, either in written or implied form, stipulating the terms for termination, employers must adhere to these contractual obligations. This can include the conditions under which an employee can be terminated.

Public Policy Exceptions:

Employers in Ohio are prohibited from terminating an employee for reasons that violate public policy. This includes firing an employee for refusing to perform an illegal act, reporting illegal conduct, or exercising legal rights, such as filing workers’ compensation claims.

Discrimination and Retaliation: 

Ohio laws are the same as the federal law that forms the basis for unjustified termination. No employer can terminate an employee based on discriminatory reasons, such as race, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin. Additionally, they cannot terminate an employee as retaliation for engaging in protected activities, like filing discrimination complaints or participating in investigations.

Right-to-Work Law

Ohio recognizes the “right-to-work” law, which pertains to legislation concerning union membership and workers’ rights. The law prohibits employers from refusing candidates to work for their union or employee body membership. The law also states that employment cannot be contingent upon union membership or the payment of union fees.

Immigration Verification

In Ohio, as in the rest of the United States, immigration verification is critical to employment. Employers can only do additional verification if required for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It is a requirement for the verification of the identity and employment authorization of each employee.

In Ohio, using E-Verify, an internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s I-9 form to data from U.S. government records, is not mandatory.

Drug Testing

Employers in Ohio have the right to implement drug testing policies independently. However, the state has no such requirement. While hiring employees, Ohio law does not prohibit drug testing in the workplace. However, contractors working on public projects or government assignments should do mandatory drug testing for all employees per the Ohio Rev. Code § 153.03(B). The same requirement applies to ambulance driving staff.

Jury Duty Leave

Ohio PTO laws require employers to provide unpaid time off for jury duty. Employers in Ohio are obligated to provide employees with time off to serve on a jury without penalizing them for their absence. This includes ensuring employees are not subject to adverse employment actions, such as termination or demotion, due to their jury duty service.

Voting Leave

Voting leave in Ohio is a mandatory time off. Employees can take a reasonable amount of time off work to vote. The amount of time considered “reasonable” can depend on various factors, including the distance from the voting location and the employee’s work schedule.

As an employer in Ohio, you are obligated to provide voting leave. You cannot penalize employees for taking time off to vote. Else may face legal challenges and penalties. Employers are encouraged to communicate their voting leave policies clearly to their employees, ensuring that all parties understand their rights and obligations.

Military Family Leave

the law, eligible employees with up to 10 days or 80 hours of unpaid leave per year when a spouse, parent, or child is called to active duty or is on leave from active duty. It is applied to all employers with 50 or more employees.

However, to be eligible for military family leave, an individual must satisfy these conditions:

  • They are employed with an employer with 50 or more employees and have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months.
  • The employee must have a spouse, parent, or child serving in the armed forces, including the National Guard or Reserves, who is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty.
  • The employee must provide 14 days’ notice of intended leave to qualify for military family leave.
  • Military family leave cannot be taken for more than two weeks before the deployment or one week after the deployment.

Crime Victim Leave

Ohio does not state the permissible leave for a crime victim. Still, employers must allow such employees to participate (at the prosecutor’s request) in preparation for a criminal or delinquency proceeding, to attend a criminal or delinquency proceeding if the employee’s attendance is reasonably necessary to protect the interests of the victim, or to attend a criminal or delinquency proceeding if the employee’s attendance is under their constitutional and statutory rights.

Ohio recognizes the importance of supporting employees who are crime victims or who need to represent family members in criminal proceedings.

Employers in Ohio must allow employees reasonable time off to attend court proceedings related to a crime in which the employee or a family member is a victim. The eligible employees include crime victims, family members of the victims, or representatives.

Ohio allows employees to participate in criminal proceedings, such as hearings or trials, without fear of job loss or retaliation from their employer.

Parental Leave

Under the Ohio Civil Rights Act, it’s unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. For pregnancy or related conditions, eligible female employees should be provided up to 6 weeks off (four weeks paid and two weeks unpaid). The Act required employers to provide reasonable accommodations and not impose undue hardship on such employees.

However, the duration of leave should be determined based on the employee’s individual needs, and the employer should engage in a flexible and understanding approach to these needs.

Full-time and part-time employees who work at least 30 hours a week are eligible for parental leave.

Smoking Laws

Ohio has workplace smoking regulations prohibiting smoking within offline premises, enclosed areas, and just adjacent to the entry and exit of the workplace building. Additionally, employers should put up “No Smoking” signage to inform employees and visitors of smoking restrictions. Employers must comply with these regulations to ensure a smoke-free workplace environment.

Break Time to Express Milk

Ohio PTO laws do not require employers to provide nursing mothers breaks to express breast milk. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that Ohio employers provide a private space for nursing mothers to express breast milk.

Meal Breaks

Employers in Ohio are not mandated to provide meal or rest breaks for employees; however, per the Ohio Rev. Code § 4109.07(C) regulation, all employees under 18 must be provided at least 30 30-minute breaks when working over five consecutive hours.

Minimum Wage, Overtime, and Wage Recordkeeping

Ohio has a greater than the federal minimum wage rate. Ohio’s minimum wage rate is $10.10 per hour for hourly workers. For tipped workers, the minimum wage can be up to $5.05 per hour, provided they earn enough tips that make up the minimum wage requirement.

Ohio overtime laws align with federal standards, requiring all employers to pay employees 1.5 times the regular wage rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. This overtime requirement doesn’t apply to agricultural workers. Employers must also maintain accurate wage records for up to three years for inspection by the Ohio Department of Commerce director if asked for.

Final Payments

Ohio labor law stipulates that employers must regularly pay their employees bi-weekly. Payment should be made on or before the first day of each month for work done during the first half of the previous month. The payment for the other half should be made on or before the 15th of each month. This ensures that employees receive timely compensation for their work.

Unemployment Insurance

Ohio’s unemployment insurance program benefits eligible individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault. Employers should look for the requirement and their contributions towards unemployment insurance for employees based on Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services requirements.

Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation provides vital protections for both employees and employers in the event of a work-related injury or illness. Under the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Act, all non-self-insured employers must pay insurance premiums to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Employers who attain self-insured status are exempted from this requirement.

Child Labor

Ohio labor law prohibits employment of kids under the age of 13, except in limited situations. Minors aged 14 and 15 can work in a broader range of jobs but are subject to strict limitations on their work hours, particularly during school hours. For 16 and 17-year-olds, while most jobs are permissible, there are still prohibitions on working in specific hazardous roles.

Gun Laws

Public and private employers in Ohio cannot prohibit employees with concealed handgun license (CHL) holders from storing their firearms within their private vehicles. Employers can prohibit employees from bringing firearms into the workplace, including in private offices and company-owned vehicles. However, the law allows employees to store firearms in their cars, even if parked on company property.

Additional Laws and Regulations

Prohibitions Against Pay Discrimination

The Ohio Equal Pay Law (EPL) prohibits wage discrimination based on gender, age, race, color, religion, national origin, or ancestry. Employers must provide equal pay for equal work, regardless of an employee’s mentioned characteristics.

Medical Marijuana Policies

Ohio is one of the states in the U.S. that legalized medical marijuana. However, it does not require employers to accommodate medical marijuana use in the workplace. Employers have the right to enforce drug-free workplace policies and to prohibit employees from the use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana at the workplace.

Past Compensation Inquiries

Employers in Columbus, Toledo, and Cincinnati cannot ask prospective employees about past compensation. Violation of the rule can result in civil fines of up to $5,000.

How can Truein help with PTO pay management?

Truein is the time and attendance management system offering a range of features designed to streamline and simplify the process of tracking and managing PTO in the workplace. As a cloud-based, hardware-less system, you can deploy Truein at any site and manage overtime for your distributed workforce.

It automates the tracking of paid time off by accurately monitoring employee leaves. Its policy customization feature allows companies to configure PTO rules to align with the company’s specific policies. This ensures that PTO calculations are consistent with internal guidelines and comply with legal requirements. Truein enables employers to monitor PTO in real time, assisting in the proactive management of PTO and helping scheduling.


Ohio PTO laws are diverse and comprehensive, and employers are required to be diligent about their implementation. While Ohio follows an at-will doctrine, employees still have several rights regarding wages, overtime, leave, and benefits. 

Understanding these laws is essential for legal compliance, fostering fair workplace practices, and supporting a positive work environment. Tools like Truein can assist in managing aspects like overtime pay, further ensuring compliance and operational efficiency.

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