Montana Sick Leave and Protected Leave
Montana employers have often wondered what state laws are regarding sick leave or family medical leave. This is especially true as states across the United States have passed sick leave and parental leave laws.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of protected leave in Montana for business owners, managers and Human Resource professionals.
Currently, seven states and dozens of cities have passed local sick leave laws.
Montana law does not require that employers provide mandatory paid sick leave or parental leave. Although if employers have promised sick leave, they may be under obligation to provide it.
Montana law states that accrued vacation days are considered to be wages. Once employees accrue or earn vacation days, they cannot lose those days. Employers are not required to provide vacation or sick days, but if they do and the employee earns it, it cannot be taken away. Use it or lose it policies are not acceptable in Montana.
This means that regardless of how employment is terminated, employers must pay all accrued vacation days on the last paycheck. This must occur even if the employee is fired or gives no notice of leaving employment.
Taking Leave Through FMLA
In addition, although Montana does not have any mandatory sick leave laws, qualified employers may have to provide protected leave to employees under the Family Medical Care Act (FMLA)
Under FMLA, employees with serious illness can take up to 12 weeks of protected leave in a 12 month period. FMLA defines a serious illness as an illness that requires an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential health care facility.
Furthermore, serious health conditions can include a period of at least 3 consecutive days of incapacity which require at least 2 visits to a health care provider in a 30 day period. Chronic conditions that require continuing treatment without extended periods of incapacity are covered.
Employers who would like to review more detailed aspects of FMLA law can read our article on Family and Medical Leave Law across the United States.
Montana Maternity and Parental Leave
Montana doesn’t have any laws that provide parental leave, although Fathers have access to bonding time with new children through FMLA law. FMLA allows new parents to take up to 12 weeks off to bond with their child in the first year after birth or placement through adoption or foster care. Parents who work at the same employer are able to split the 12 weeks between them.
Montana does offer Maternity Disability Leave, which protects pregnant women who become disabled due to the pregnancy. Employers cannot require a woman to take more leave than is reasonable for her disability. Typically, a healthy pregnancy will require 6 weeks of maternity leave after the birth of a child.
During leave, the employee is protected and can return to work after her leave is over. She is protected from any loss of benefits and cannot be treated differently because of her pregnancy or her maternity leave.
Typically maternity leave would be taken in conjunction with FMLA law, which provides protected leave in relationship with incapacity due to pregnancy and which also provides bonding leave for new parents.
Both Montana’s maternity leave and FMLA is unpaid leave, although parents can use accrued vacation days or other employer offered benefits to receive payment during the leave.
Other Protected Leaves of Absences
Montana does not offer other types of protected leave, except that which is provided under Federal law. That means that employers do not have to provide bereavement leave, voting leave, or jury duty leave.
Let SwipeClock Help
Montana businesses can see a drastic reduction in their employment labor costs through Human Resource Information Software. SwipeClock’s intelligent systems help to plan employee schedules and optimize FTE.
Additionally, it helps with compliance as Montana businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. 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.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated on July 19, 2017