In many workplaces, situations occur at least once when an employee wishes he or she could take time off to bond with a new baby or to care for a sick or injured relative. While the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave in some cases, this leave is unpaid. However, a few states have paid family and sick leave laws. Here’s a look at some of them; employers should check with state websites to see if their state offers paid leave.
California has allowed employees since 2004 to take partial paid leave in situations where they need to bond with a new child or care for a severely sick child, parent, spouse or domestic partner.
•Compensation is 55 percent of the usual pay and comes from a state insurance program.
•Paycheck withholding funds the state insurance program.
•Employees can get paid for up to six weeks of leave in a period of 12 months.
•Employees must adhere to a waiting period of seven days before beginning to get benefits.
•Some employer policies require that employees first use up eligible paid leave such as vacation leave and sick leave before using partial paid leave. In such cases, the paid leave applies toward the seven-day waiting period.
The 2008 family leave law in New Jersey went into effect in 2009. It enables employees to get partial pay when they take time off to care for a child, parent, spouse or partner who is in serious health, or to spend bonding time with a new child in the 12 months following the child’s birth or adoption placement.
•Benefits cover up to six weeks of leave.
•Employees may opt to take their leave in chunks if medically necessary; for instance, if a parent needs treatment two days a week.
•Payment amounts are two-thirds of the employee’s usual wages, but they can go up to a maximum of $572 per week.
•Like with California’s law, employees must wait seven days before they get benefits. If someone ends up being out more than three weeks, however, that person can end up getting benefits for that waiting period as well.
•Also like with California’s law, employers can mandate that workers first use up paid leave, but that paid leave can count toward the waiting period.
How much leave someone can take under Washington, D.C. paid sick and safe leave depends on employer size. For example, an employer with 100-plus workers must provide one paid hour of leave for every 37 hours worked, up to seven days a year.
•Employees qualify only after they work a minimum of one consecutive year for an employer, including at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12 months.
•Employees can take leave for an expanded list of reasons (as compared with other laws), for example, for their own or family member’s assistance with abuse or domestic violence or preventative medical care.
Rhode Island law provides for temporary wage replacement due to disability as well as leave for temporary caregivers leave.
•Employees can request leave and partial pay to spend time with a new child or to take care of a seriously ill child, domestic partner, spouse, parent, grandparent and parent-in-law.
•Benefits equal about 60 percent of an employee’s weekly earnings; the minimum allowable is $74, with the maximum being $752.
•Up to four weeks of leave per year is allowed and goes against a temporary disability allowance.
In 2007, the state of Washington joined California as the second state to have a paid family leave law. However, it did not take effect until 2015 because of budget woes.
•The law only governs parental leave for newborns or a child newly adopted.
•Employees must have worked at the company for a minimum of 680 hours during the previous year or in the year that ended three months prior to their leave starting.
Benefits are distributed for up to five weeks and are $250 per week for folks who work a minimum of 35 hours a week. Benefits are prorated for folks who work fewer than 35 hours a week.
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