Anyone who has worked for or with a multi-state employer knows that one of the most difficult aspects of absence management is keeping up with changes in state and local laws. This posting is an effort to provide some of the more recent information about changes in state and local leave laws. All readers who are aware of other changes are invited to comment and provide additional information.
A new state law went into effect August 15 granting the right to 4 hours of unpaid time off to participate in school activities. This law applies to parents, guardians and custodians. It applies to both public and private school studies. It applies on a per child, per school year basis.
The law prohibits employers from firing, demoting, suspending or otherwise discriminating against parents who choose to take advantage of the time off. The law covers parent-teacher conferences, school-related activities held during school hours and volunteering at school. It is unclear whether musical performances, science fairs, school plays, athletic events or class parties are covered by the law.
Employers can require employees to submit a written request for leave five school days before the event. Employers can also require documentation that employees attended the event. Employers can require leave to be taken in increments of one hour or more.
The law applies to employers with 50 or more employees. The new law does not apply to employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. The new law expands on existing law that allows employees to take time off to attend a conference requested by a school administrator or if a child is involved in an emergency.
In June, a judge ruled that Milwaukee’s sick pay ordinance was invalidly enacted and unconstitutional. The ruling has been appealed.
Amendments to the Maryland Flexible Leave Act took effect May 19. It is now clear that employers that drop below 15 employees will still be covered by the law. The amendments also clarified that a “child” may be adopted, biological, foster, step or a legal ward under age 18 or over 18 and incapable of self-care. A “parent” includes adoptive, biological, foster, step, legal guardian or standing in loco parentis. “Leave with pay” is paid time “earned and available” under the employer’s rules, but excludes ERISA benefits, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation and disability benefits. The law allows employees to use paid leave to care for family members.
The law only applies to employees who are “primarily employed in the state”.