STATE UPDATE

John GarnerDMEC News

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 laws.  This posting is an effort to provide some of the more recent information about changes in state leave laws.  All readers who are aware of other changes are invited to comment and provide additional information.

California

SB 1304 requires private employers to permit employees to take paid leaves of absence for organ and bone marrow donation, not exceeding 30 days for the purpose of organ donation and not exceeding 5 days for bone marrow donation. The bill requires a private employer to restore an employee returning from leave for organ or bone marrow donation to the same position held by the employee when the leave began or an equivalent position. The bill prohibits a private employer from interfering with an employee taking organ or bone marrow donation leave and from retaliating against an employee for taking that leave or opposing an unlawful employment practice related to organ or bone marrow donation leave. The bill also creates a private right of action for an aggrieved employee to seek enforcement of these provisions.

In order to receive a leave of absence, an employee must provide written verification to his or her employer that he or she is an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical necessity for the donation of the organ or bone marrow.

Any period of time during which an employee is required to be absent from his or her position by reason of being an organ or bone marrow donor is not a break in his or her continuous service for the purpose of his or her right to salary adjustments, sick leave, vacation, annual leave, or seniority. During any period that an employee takes this leave, the employer must maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for the full duration of the leave.

These rights cannot be diminished by a collective bargaining agreement and this law does not reduce any greater rights that are part of a collective bargaining agreement.

An employer may require that an employee take up to five days of earned but unused sick or vacation leave for bone marrow donation and up to two weeks of earned but unused sick or vacation leave for organ donation, unless doing so would violate the provisions of any applicable collective bargaining
agreement.

This leave is in addition to and does not run concurrently with leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act.  Leave does not need to be taken all at once and may be taken in parts.

This law will be effective January 1, 2011.

Connecticut

Connecticut has a law similar to the FMLA that requires that employees of employers with at least 75 employees be allowed 16 weeks of leave in a two-year period.  Earlier this year, a court ruled that the 75 employees do not all have to be in Connecticut.

Illinois

Effective January 1, 2011, the Illinois Family Medical Leave Act has been expanded to grant eligibility for unpaid leave to adult children and grandparents of individuals called to military service for more than 30 days.

Massachusetts

Under Massachusetts law, private sector employers with at least 6 employees must provide at least 8 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.  Earlier this year, a court ruled that job-protected leave under state law ends at the end of the 8 weeks (for larger employers subject to FMLA, the federal rules apply).

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