The Family Medical Leave Act Has Allowed Workers Better Life Balance for 25 Years

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (Aug. 29, 2018) – Workplace Fairness believes that treatment of workers is sound public policy and good business practice. This year we celebrate a great step forward in workers’ rights. For 25 years the FMLA has permitted workers unpaid leave to deal with family medical issues. Paid medical leave may well be right around the corner. It is vital that workers stay informed about their rights in the workplace. Workplace Fairness remains committed to educating workers about their rights and advocating for positive change in labor and employment law.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law allowing employees to take time off of work for certain health and family reasons. It is intended to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families. The FMLA gives employees the right to take leave for serious health conditions, to bond with a new child, and military family leave. For more information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, visit the Workplace Fairness FMLA page.

In addition to the federal FMLA statute, 12 states and the District of Columbia have their own law governing unpaid family and medical leave. Some differences between state and federal laws include: the number of employees needed to be covered by the law, the conditions of leave, minimum hours required to be a covered employee, and length of the leave granted. It is important to check state laws in conjunction with FMLA to be fully aware of your leave rights.

It is important to know what’s covered and how and when to apply under each state’s law:

For example, in California, leave may be taken for bonding with new children, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, to care for one’s own disability, which includes pregnancy. Leave may be taken for up to six weeks for family leave and 52 weeks for own disability.

Connecticut’s family and medical leave law covers private sector employees. Under the statute, a covered employer is any enterprise or business who employs 75 or more employees, excluding the state, municipality, local or regional board of education, or a private or parochial elementary or secondary school.

Under the D.C. FMLA private and public employers with at least 20 employees must allow eligible employees to take up to 16 weeks of family leave (to care for a family member) plus 16 weeks of medical leave (for employee’s own serious health condition) in any 24-month period.

Starting July 1, 2018, the state of Massachusetts began following a three-year phase-in period entitling individuals working in the state of Massachusetts to paid family leave.

In New York, effective Jan. 1, 2018, all private employees, working either full or part-time, and have worked 26 or more consecutive weeks for a covered employee are eligible for leave.

Under the Oregon Family Leave Act, two weeks of bereavement leave is available to make funeral arrangements, attend the funeral or to grieve a family member who has passed away.

The Vermont Parental and Family Leave Law requires covered employers to provide parental leave, family leave, and short-term family leave to eligible employees.

Under the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act, intermittent leave is permitted in increments equal to the shortest increment permitted by the employer for any other non-emergency leave.

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Leona Zoey

Leona Zoey

Leona Zoey writes about the Law, Innovation and Technology.