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Your Rights Family / Medical Leave - State Laws

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In addition to the federal FMLA statute, 12 states 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, 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.

 

California

California's family and medical leave law is called the California Family Rights Act.

Under this act covered employers include those who do business in California, and employ at least 50 part-time or full-time employees, including non-profit religious organizations. Covered employers also include the State of California and any of its political and civil subdivisions, and cities and counties, regardless of the number of employees.

Similar to the FMLA, in order for an employee to be eligible for leave, they must fulfill the following conditions:

  • be either a full-time or part-time employee working in California,
  • have more than 12 months (52 weeks) of service with the employer,
  • have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period before the date the leave begins, and
  • work at a location in which the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles radius of the employee's work site.

Covered employers must allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period: for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, for the employee's own serious health condition, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. If both parents are eligible for leave and are employed by the same employer, that employer may limit leave for the birth, adoption, or foster-care placement of their child to 12 workweeks in a 12-month period between the two parents.

When requesting leave, an employee must provide at least verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware the employee needs leave. The notice must state the reason for the leave and its anticipated timing and duration. An employer may require 30 days advance notice before leave is to begin if the need for the leave is foreseeable. If the need for the leave is not foreseeable, notice must be give as soon as possible. An employer must respond to a leave request as soon as possible but no later than 10 calendar days after receiving the request.

For family care and medical leave, an employee may elect, or an employer may require, the substitution of accrued vacation leave, other accrued time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer. However, for the employee's own serious health condition, the employee may use accrued sick leave.

Leave may be taken intermittently for the serious health condition of a parent, child, or spouse or for the serious health condition of the employee. A minimum of 2 weeks of leave is required when taken for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.

Like the FMLA, under the California statute employers are required to reinstate an employee's position after leave. Additionally, employee's benefits, insurance, and terms and conditions of employment must be maintained.

Connecticut

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. The number of employees shall be determined annually on October 1st.

Covered employers must allow eligible employees to take up to 16 weeks of leave in any 24-month period for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, for the employee's own health condition, to care for a family member (including parents-in-law, step-parents, domestic partners, and the children of domestic partners) with a serious health condition, or for organ or bone marrow donation. The same legal benefits apply for same-sex couples. Specifically relating to pregnancy disabilities, employers with at least three employees must give employees a reasonable leave of absence for disability relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.

An employee is eligible to take leave if the employee has worked for the employer for 12 months or more and for 1,000 or more hours in the 12-month period preceding the first day of leave. Spouses employed by the same employer may take a combined total of 16 weeks of FMLA in a two-year period if the leave is for the birth, adoption, placement of a foster child, or to care for a sick parent. Prior to the start of leave, an employee must present the employer with a signed statement of intent to return to work upon expiration of leave. Private employees must provide the employer with at least 30 days notice, if possible, when requesting leave for his or her own serious illness of family leave for the serious illness of a child, spouse, or parent. Public employees requesting medical leave due to a serious illness must provide employers with written certification from a physician stating the type of illness and its probable duration.

When leave has expired, an employee is entitled to be reinstated to his or her original job and pay or if the job is no longer available, to an equivalent job with equivalent pay. Employees are entitled to all accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits that the employee had at the beginning of the leave period.

District of Columbia

Under the DC 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 family member) plus 16 weeks of medical leave ( for employee's own serious health condition) in any 24-month period. Family leave can be taken for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, for the permanent placement of a child for whom the employee permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility, or to take care of a family member with a serious health condition. Family members include anyone related to the employee by blood, custody, or marriage, and anyone with whom the employee shares a residence and has a committed relationship. Employees taking leave for birth or placement of a child must use the leave within 12 months of the birth or placement. Leave must be shared by family members working for the same employer. Intermittent leave may be taken when a family member or the employee himself or herself has a serious health condition.

In order to be eligible for leave, employees must have been employed by the employer for one year without a break in service except for regular holidays, sick or personal leave granted by employer, and have worked for at least 1,000 hours (average of 19 hours/week) during the 12-month period prior to the leave request.

An eligible employee may elect accrued paid family, vacation, personal, or compensatory leave to be substituted for family or medical care leave. An employee must provide timely notice to the employer of a need for leave. If the leave was foreseeable, the employee must notify the employer of the need for leave 30 days prior to the commencement of the leave. If the leave was not foreseeable, the employee must provide notice as soon as possible prior to the date on which the employee wishes the leave to begin. When an emergency prevents the employee from being able to notify the employer prior to the first day of absence, the employee must notify the employer not later than two 2 business days after the absence begins.

Similar to the federal statute, employers must maintain all of the employee's benefits during leave including seniority and health benefits. The employer is required to return the employee to the same position they held prior to the leave. However, job reinstatement is not required if the employer has fewer than 50 employees and the employee who took leave was one of the 5 highest paid employees, or if the employer has 50 or more employees and the employee who took leave was amongst the highest 10% of employees paid. 

Hawaii

Under the Hawaii Family Leave Law, employers that have 100 or more employees for each working day during 20 or more calendar work weeks in the current or preceding calendar year must provide unpaid leave for eligible employees. Employees may take up to four weeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for a newly born or adopted child, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition (including parents-in-law, grandparents, grandparents-in-law, and reciprocal beneficiaries). Unlike the federal FMLA, employees cannot use this leave for their own serious health conditions. In order to be eligible for leave employees must have worked for the employer for 6 consecutive months. Spouses employed by the same employer are not required to share leave. Intermitted leave is permitted for birth, adoption placement, and serious health condition of family member.

When requesting leave, if the event is foreseeable, an employee must provide practicable and reasonable notice. Like the FMLA under the Hawaii Family Leave Law, all benefits must be maintained during leave, and the employee must be restored to the same position and terms of employment.

Maine

Under Maine law every employer (including State branches, departments, and agencies) who employs 15 or more employees must provide up to 10 work weeks of family medical leave within a 2 year period to every employee who has been employed by the same employer for 12 consecutive months. If the employer provides paid family medical leave for fewer than 10 weeks, the additional weeks of leave added to attain the total of 10 weeks may be unpaid. Employees are required to give at least 30 days notice of the intended date upon which family medical leave will begin and terminate unless there is a medical emergency preventing such notice. Employers may require certification from a physician to verify the amount of leave requested.

Under this law, family medical leave includes the following situations:

  • the birth of the employee's child or the employee's domestic partner's child,
  • the placement of a child 16 years of age or less with the employee or with the employee's domestic partner in connection with the adoption of the child by the employee or the employee's domestic partner,
  • care of a child, domestic partner's child, sibling or spouse with a serious health condition,
  • the donation of an organ of the employee for a human organ transplant, or
  • the death or serious health condition of the employee's spouse, domestic partner, parent or sibling.

Like the FMLA under Maine law, all benefits must be maintained during leave, and the employee must be restored to the same position and terms of employment.

Minnesota

Under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act employers who have more than 21 employees must provide parental leave to eligible employees. To be eligible for leave, the employee must have worked for the covered employer for 12 consecutive months working at least half time. Employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave upon the birth or adoption of their child. The leave must be taken within 12 months of the birth or adoption.

Employees must request the leave from their employer, and can choose when the leave will begin. However, employers can adopt reasonable policies about when requests for leave must be made.

Parental leave can be reduced by the employer if an employee has paid leave in the forms of sick leave or paid vacation, so the total leave amount is not more than 12 weeks.

Employers are required to continue employee's employer-provided health insurance during leave, however employees may be asked to pay for this coverage. Employees returning from leave are entitled to their former position or a position with comparable duties, hours and pay. Employees are also entitled to the same benefits and seniority given before leave.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Family Act requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for family and medical purposes. A covered employer is any company with at least 50 employees for 20 or more weeks in the current or immediately preceding calendar year. State government agencies and schools are included. An employee is eligible for leave if they worked for the covered employer for at least 1,000 base hours over the last 12 months.

Eligible employees can take leave to care for the employee's child after birth, or adoption or foster care placement of a child; to care for the employee's spouse (including same-sex spouses), son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition, or; for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job.

The employee ordinarily must provide 30 days advance notice when the leave is foreseeable. An employer may require medical certification to support a request for leave because of a serious health condition. An employer may als require second or third opinions (at the employer's expense), and a fitness for duty report to return to work.

The employee may choose, or the employer may require the employee, to use certain kinds of paid leave (such as accrued sick or vacation leave) during a New Jersey Family Act absence. The employee may take leave intermittently or work a reduced workweek when medically necessary for the employee's or family member's serious health condition.

While an employee is on leave their employer must maintain the employee's health coverage under any group health plan, under the same terms as if the employee continued to work. Upon return from leave, employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.

Oregon

Under the Oregon Family Leave Act, employers with 25 or more Employees in the State of Oregon for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks are covered. Covered employers must provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for:

  • the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child (parental leave)
  • to care for a family member with a serious health condition (family member includes grandparents and grandchildren, parents-in-law, same-gender domestic partners and children and parents of same-gender domestic partners ) or
  • the employee's own serious health condition
  • for pregnancy disability or prenatal care (pregnancy disability leave)
  • to care for a sick child who does not have a serious health condition, but requires home care, known as sick child leave.

2 weeks of bereavement leave is available to make funeral arrangements, attend the funeral or to grieve a family member who has passed away.

To be eligible for leave, workers must have been employed for at least 180 days and work at least an average of 25 hours a week during the 180 days before leave ends. Unlike the FMLA, Oregon has a different eligibility for parental leave. To be eligible for parental leave employees must be on the job at least 180 days.

An Employee who takes 12 weeks of parental leave may take an additional 12 weeks to care for a child of the Employee who is suffering from an illness, injury or condition that is not a serious health condition but that requires home care. Women taking any pregnancy disability leave are allowed an additional 12 weeks for any other family leave purpose. Two family members of the same employer may not take concurrent family leave except under limited circumstances. An employee may use any paid accrued vacation or sick leave offered by employer.

Employees are required to give written notice to the employer 30 days in advance of the leave unless it is impracticable to do so, or if the leave is taken for an emergency. When written 30 day notice is not possible, oral request must be made within 24 hours of leave commencement followed by written notice within 3 days after return to work.

Upon returning from leave, employees must be restored to their former jobs or to equivalent jobs if the former positions are no longer available. An employer may require certification for family leave taken in relation to a family member with a serious health condition, the employee's own serious health condition, or a child suffering from an illness, injury, or condition that requires home care. An employer may also require certification that an employee is able to return to work. Under Oregon law, there is no requirement to maintain health benefits during leave unless required by agreement or policy.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Parental and Family Leave Act covers private employers with 50 or more employees, any state agency, and any city, town, or municipal agency that employs 30 or more employees. These covered employers must provide eligible employees with up to 13 consecutive work weeks of parental or family leave for a 24 month period. To be eligible leave employees must be full time, working on average 30 or more hours per week for 12 consecutive months prior to the effective date for leave.

Leave can be taken as parental leave or family leave. Parental leave means leave by reason of the birth of a child of an employee, or the placement or adoption of a child 16 years of age or less. Family leave refers to leave by reason of the serious illness of a family member. Family member includes a parent, spouse, child, mother-in-law, father-in-law, or the employee him or herself.

The employee is required to give at least 30 days notice of the intended date leave shall start and end unless prevented by a medical emergency. The employer can request a written certification from a physician specifying the duration of the employee's leave. Paid leave may be substituted for unpaid family or parental leave.

Upon the return from leave, an employee shall be entitled to restoration to the position held before the start of the leave period. Employment benefits, conditions of employment, pay and term must be restored. The employer must also maintain any existing health benefits of the employee.

Vermont

The Vermont Parental and Family Leave Law requires covered employers to provide parental leave, family leave and short-term family leave to eligible employees. Covered employers for parental leave include private and public employers with 10 or more employees. Eligible employees for parental leave are employees who have worked an average of 30 hours per week and have been employed for at least 12 months. Parental leave provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn up to 12 months old, or to care for a newly adopted child under the age of 16 within the first year after placement. Both fathers and mothers are eligible for parental leave.

Covered employers for family leave include private and public employers with 15 or more employees. Employees who have worked an average of 30 hours per week and have been employed for at least 12 months are eligible for family leave. Family leave can be taken for an employee's own serious illness or the serious illness of their child, step-child, foster child, parent, parent-in-law, or spouse. Employees cannot take more than 12 weeks of parental and family leave combined. Employees have the option of using up to 6 weeks of accrued sick, vacation, or other paid leave for parental or family related reasons. For parental and family leave, Vermont law requires employees to give reasonable written notice before they plan to take leave.

Covered employers for short term leave include private and public employers with 15 or more employees. Employees who have worked an average of 30 hours per week and have been employed for at least 12 months are eligible for short term family leave. An employee can take up to four hours of short-term family leave in any 30 days but no more than 24 hours in any 12months. The employer may require that the employee take at least 2 hours of leave at any one time. Short-term family leave designed for employees to use for routine recurrent family or medical-related events that require less than a full day, such as school activities, doctor or dentist visits or to respond to a medical emergency involving a family member. For short-term leave, employees must give at least seven days notice before taking the leave, except if it is an emergency.

Upon the return from parental or family leave, the employer must provide the employee with the same job or a job that has the same benefits, pay, working conditions, and seniority. The employer can choose not to give the employer their job back if the employer would have terminated the employee's job for reasons unrelated to leave, or the employee held a key position performing unique services and the hiring of a replacement worker is the only alternative available to the employer to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the employer. When an employer choose to terminate employment due to leave, it must provide notice to the employee before hiring a replacement worker.

Washington

Like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Washington's Family Leave Act (FLA) provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave in a 12-month period for eligible employees. All employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks annually (in the current or preceding year) within 75 miles of the employee's worksite must provide family leave to their employees. To be eligible, an employee must have been employed at least 12 months with the employer and must have worked 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the requested leave.

The Washington law incorporates the FMLA, but provides extended rights in three circumstances.

In the case of pregnancy, a pregnant women who is an eligible employee will qualify for 12 weeks of family leave in addition to the pregnancy disability leave ordered by her health care provider.

An eligible employee can use up to 12 weeks of family leave in order to care for a registered domestic partner with a serious health condition. This 12 weeks of family leave is exclusive of FMLA leave, and the employee will still have 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

Lastly, if an eligible employee exhausts all or part of his or her FMLA entitled leave because of exigency leave, the employee may still have access to all 12 weeks of family leave under the state law.

All of the provisions of the FMLA regarding maintaining benefits, and job restoration apply.

Wisconsin

Under the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with at least 50 permanent employees during at least 6 of the preceding 12 calendar months, must provide family and medical leave to eligible employees. To be eligible for leave employees must have worked for the covered employer for at least 1,000 hours in the preceding 52 consecutive weeks.

Eligible employees are allowed the following leave within a 12 month period:

  • Up to 6 weeks for the birth or adoption of a child,
  • 2 weeks of leave for a child, spouse, domestic partner or parent or parent of a domestic partner with a serious health condition, and
  • 2 weeks for employee's own serious health condition.

Intermittent leave is permitted in increments equal to the shortest increment permitted by the employer for any other non-emergency leave. An eligible employee can choose to substitute accrued paid or unpaid leave family and medical care leave. Notice of leave must be given in a reasonable and practicable manner. All of the provisions of the FMLA regarding maintaining benefits, and job restoration apply.