Businesses to Maintain Compliance with Local and Federal Medical Leave Laws
In the United States three main levels of employment law can apply to employers simultaneously. Locally, businesses may have to comply with city or county employment law. In addition every state has labor laws and the United States Department of Labor oversees employee to employer relationships.
In the case of Family or Medical leave, this sometimes means that employers have to be aware of multiple laws. While often these laws appear to duplicate requirements, in reality, these laws often create variations of requirements for compliance. Owners, managers, and HR departments are often not aware of the variations and inadvertently break these leave laws.
The is why SwipeClock has published a series of articles designed to help the business owner and human resources or payroll employee more easily maintain compliance. Topics range from minimum wage and sick leave laws to overtime laws. This article will provide a synopsis of Family, Medical, and Parental Leave Laws across the U.S.A.
However, knowledge is seldom enough for human resources and payroll experts to maintain compliance. That is why SwipeClock offers comprehensive software that makes compliance easier and consistent for any size of human resources department.
SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
United States Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was put into law in 1993. The law oversees companies across the United States. FMLA applies to employers who have at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. Their employees who have worked at least 1 year and 1,250 hours in the last year are eligible for FMLA leave.
FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave for family or medical purposes. In specific circumstances, employees can take up to 26 weeks of protected leave. Employees are able to take leave to bond with new children, care for ill family members, or take care of their own serious illness. Family members that are included in the act includes the employee’s child, spouse, or parents.
In addition, when an employee leaves to care for a seriously ill service member, they may take up to 26 weeks of leave. Lastly, employees may take leave for military exigencies.
California Family Medical Leave and Pregnancy Leave
Both the California Family Rights Act and Pregnancy Disability Act provides protected leave for families.
The Pregnancy Disability Act covers employers with 5 or more employees and provides up to 4 months of leave due to pregnancy disability. Often this leave can be used simultaneously with FMLA leave. Employees are eligible for pregnancy disability leave for every pregnancy, regardless of if two pregnancies occur in the same year or not. One exception to this is with new employees who would not qualify for FMLA leave and small businesses employees.
In addition, California also requires protected leave through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). CFRA provides 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period. As with FMLA, CFRA provides leave for bonding after the birth or placement of a child into the home, to care for seriously ill family members, or for the employee’s own serious illness.
One key difference from FMLA is that CFRA provides leave for more family relationships. When these relationships are the reason for leave, the employee only uses CFRA and will not simultaneously take FMLA..
Colorado Family Care Act
The Colorado Family Care Act is the most ambiguous and unclear statewide leave law in the country. Its stated purpose is to expand the reach of the FMLA. It seeks to expand coverage for additional relationships that employees can take family leave under. However, a state law does not have the authority to expand the scope of the federal FMLA. Instead, the Colorado Family Care act inadvertently creates a second protected leave for employees who take leave for these additional family members. Those employees would still have additional full leave coverage provided under FMLA.
Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act
The Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act (CFMLA) provides up to 16 weeks of leave every 24 months. In addition, its requirements for eligibility differ slightly from FMLA requirements. CFMLA provides additional coverage for the relationship of parent-in-law and provides leave for organ or bone marrow donations. Due to these and and other subtle differences, employers may have to provide separate full FMLA and CFMLA leave to employees.
D.C. Family Medical Leave Act
The Washington D.C. Family Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) provides protected leave of 16 weeks every 24 months. Currently the leave is unpaid, but in 2020, the paid leave will be available to employees. DCFMLA covers businesses with 20 or more employees, who have to work 1,000 hours in the year previous to taking leave. The differences in qualification criteria means that there are employees who may only qualify for one of the leaves or the other. DCFMLA expands family relationships to include a person related by blood or affinity, person sharing a residence, and child living with the employee. Additionally DCFMLA does not include leave reasons relating to the call to active military service like FMLA. This means that there are several cases where employees would have access to both the 16 weeks and the additional 12 weeks of leave covered by both laws.
Hawaii Family Leave Law
Hawaii Family Leave Law (HFLL) applies to employers with 100 or more employees and provides up to 4 weeks of protected leave. The law covers leave to care for a family member’s serious illness, but not the employee’s own serious illness. In addition HFLL covers additional family members including more covered child relationships, parent-in-law, and grandparents. That means that even if reasons for the leave run consistent with FMLA leave laws, if the leave is for one of these expanded relationships, the employee would get separate leave for HFLL and FMLA.
Maine Family Medical Leave Law
There are striking differences between FMLA and Maine’s Family Medical Leave Law (FML). FMLA covers business with 15 or more employees. The law provides up to 10 weeks of leave in a 24 month period. In addition to expanding coverage to small businesses, it also expands family leave to include siblings and domestic partners. In addition, leave can be taken for employees to donate an organ or bone marrow.
Because of these differences, some employees may be able to take FMLA leave, but not have that time count toward Maine’s FMLA law or vice versa.
Minnesota Parental Leave
Recent updates to the Minnesota Parental Leave have increased protected leave to include up to 12 weeks of leave for parents. Parental leave covers employers with at least 21 employees and employees who work an average of 20 hours a week. Parental leave covers bonding for the birth or adoption of a new child. It does not cover foster care placement like FMLA provides. In addition, employees can take leave to care for family members. Parental Leave adds the relationships of siblings, parent-in-law, grandchild and grandparent. In addition, leave can be taken for assistance to heal from domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. These many differences mean that employees may often have access for a full 12 weeks of FMLA leave and 12 weeks for Minnesota Parental Leave.
New Jersey Family Leave Act
The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) provides up to 12 months of family leave every 24 months. The NJFLA is very similar to FMLA in that it allows time for parents to bond with new children and for employees to take time off to care for family members who are seriously ill. However, NJFLA does not allows for employees to take time off for their own illness or for military deployment reasons allowed by the FMLA. In addition NJFLA includes more family members for leave than FMLA by including parents-in-law and domestic partners.
New York Paid Family Leave Act
New York’s Family Leave starts on January 1, 2018. It phases in over the following three years and will pay up to 12 weeks of family leave each year. The payments are funded by a payroll tax. In order to be eligible, employees must have worked for their employer for 25 months and at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months. New York’s family leave law most closely resembles the FMLA in application. It allows for the same leave purposes and family definitions as FMLA. Typically leave will occur simultaneously.
Oregon Family Leave Act
Oregon Family Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave in a 12 month period. Employers who have at least 25 employees must provide leave. Employees qualify if they worked at least 180 days and averaged 25 hours a week. The act expands family member relationships for time off to care for them and provides time to complete the requirements for adoption or foster care. Additionally, it also provides a way for parents to take time off to care for a sick child who is not seriously ill. Some of the Oregon Family Leave Act can run concurrently with FMLA leave, but some of it cannot and it is vital for employers to understand the situations in which leave is independent.
Rhode Island Parental Family Medical Leave
The Rhode Island Parental Family Medical Leave (RIPFML) offers up to 13 weeks of unpaid family leave with the possibility that part of the leave can be paid. Eligible employers are those with at least 50 employees anywhere and covered employees must have worked for their employers at least 12 consecutive months averaging 30 hours a week. RIPFML provides time to bond with a child, care for a family member or themselves, and up to 10 hours a year to attend a school activity. Most of the time RIPFML will occur simultaneously with FMLA. However because the eligibility requirements are different and RIPFML does not allow for leave in connection with active military deployment, there are times when employees would be eligible for both leaves in a 12 month period.
Vermont Parental Family Leave
Three types of leave are covered under the Vermont Parental Family Leave (PFL). The leave provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave a year and covers employers with at least 10 employees. Employees must work at least 30 hours a week to be eligible and have been with their employer for 12 months. One key differences between the PFL and FMLA is that employees can take time off when they are pregnant and do not have to be seriously ill. Additionally, when employees take time to care for a family member, they can take time for step children, parent in laws, and legal wards. These are expanded relationships that FMLA does not cover. In addition PFL offers several other school and appointment related leave reasons that FMLA does not.
Washington Family Leave
Washington’s Family Leave Act (FLA) expands coverage that FMLA would provide by including smaller employers. It also provides 12 weeks of coverage in a 12 month period. It has the same requirements and nearly identical leave purposes as FMLA. However, FLA does add a Washington State Registered Domestic Partner as an allowable family member to take leave to care for when seriously ill. One other major difference is that Washington’s FLA does not allows leave during pregnancy. If a woman is seriously ill from a pregnancy, she would take FMLA leave and then have FLA leave available to bond after the birth of her child.
Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act
One of the earliest FMLA laws to be passed, the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act provides more reasons for employees to take leave. Employees can access up to 8 weeks of leave. The amount of leave available ranges between 6 week and 2 weeks depending on the purpose for the leave. The act includes children over 18 yrs of age and children of domestic partners for leave purposes.
Let SwipeClock Help with Compliance
As shown in this article, every state with it’s own family or parental leave has circumstances where FMLA and the local leave do not work together. This also occurs with local sick leave laws, minimum wage laws and other employment laws. Balancing all the requirements, tracking the leave taken and documentation around the leave can become extremely burdensome for businesses.
This is why it is vital for every business to have the tools to maintain compliance. In 2016 many small, medium and large businesses paid millions of dollars in fines for employment regulatory violations. Sadly, most of these violations could have been easily avoided with the right software in place.
SwipeClock’s timekeeping, workforce management, and automated records retention is important because nearly every labor law assumes guilt on the employer without accurate and good records. Manual timesheets, posting, and notices are often difficult to prove delivery and easily lost or altered.
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