Vacation Leave          Holidays           Bereavement
 
Voting Leave          Jury Duty          Sick Leave          Parental Leave

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue.  Users are advised to seek legal advice from their legal counsel prior to taking (or omitting to take) any action based on the information contained herein.  While we periodically review and update the information contained herein, we do not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein and the information should not be relied upon as accurate, timely or fit for any particular purpose. This information was constructed on October 15th 2018.

Are Employees entitled to time off [eg. Vacations, sick leave or holidays] in the United States as per Federal Legislation?

Under Section 207(3)(e) of the FLSA, regular rate has been defined not to include payments made for occasional periods when no work is performed due to vacation, holiday, illness, failure of the employer to provide sufficient work or other similar cause, reasonable payments for travelling expenses or other expenses incurred by an employee in the furtherance of his employer’s interests and properly reimbursable by the employer.

In other words, the FLSA does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or holidays. These benefits are usually a matter of agreement between an Employer and an Employee.

The FMLA is designed to provide employees with temporary job security when faced with certain health-related care responsibilities that preclude them from working. However, it does not provide paid leave.

The FMLA compels employers who employ 50 or more employees to grant qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for:

  • Birth and care of the Employee’s child, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the Employee;
  • Birth and care of the Employee’s child, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee;
  • Care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition; or
  • care of the employee’s own serious health condition.

An Employee will be eligible for FMLA if they have:

  1. Worked at least 12 months (which do not have to be consecutive) for the Employer
  2. Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the FLMA leave date begins.

Further, if the Employee is a family member (spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin) of the Armed Forces, the Employer will provide up to 26 weeks unpaid leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy. This also extends to members of the National Guard or Reserves.

Are Employees entitled to paid family leave in the USA?

California

California was the first state in the country to pass a paid family leave law. While federal law and the laws of many states had previously granted time off for family and medical reasons, the time off was unpaid. Since 2004, California employees can receive partial pay while they take time off to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Paid family leave is funded through deductions from employee paychecks.

Who Is Eligible for Paid Family Leave?

To be eligible for benefits, California employees must have earned $300 or more in wages during a 12-month base period preceding the claim. These wages must have been subject to withholdings for the state’s disability insurance program. However, there is no requirement that the employee work for an employer of a certain size. Because these requirements are relatively easy to meet, most workers in California will be eligible for paid family leave.

Employees must also take leave for one of the following covered reasons:

  • to bond with a new child who arrives by birth, adoption, or placement through the foster care system, or
  • to take care of a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law with a serious illness.

Paid family leave is not available when an employee takes leave for his or her own illness. However, for short-term disabilities—including pregnancy and other medical conditions—the employee may be able to collect state disability benefits.

How Much Is Paid Family Leave?

California paid family leave program provides partial wage replacements to employees for a limited amount of time. Employees will receive 55% of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum set by state law. As of January 1, 2017, the maximum weekly benefit is $1,173.

Beginning on January 1, 2018, a new law will take place that increases the benefit amount for paid family leave. Lower-wage earners will receive 70% of their average wages, while higher-wage earners will receive 60% of their average wages.

Benefits are paid for a maximum of six weeks. A seven-day waiting period applies, which means the employee must be out of work for a full week before starting to receive benefits.

The one exception is for new mothers who have been receiving state disability insurance benefits due to pregnancy and childbirth. (These employees will already have served a one-week waiting period to receive disability benefits.) The waiting period will be removed for all employees starting in 2018.

Your employer may require you to use up to two weeks of paid leave (vacation or sick leave, for example) before starting to receive benefits. If your employer has a policy like this, one of the weeks of paid leave will count as your waiting period.

 

How Do I Apply For Paid Family Leave?

You can apply for California's paid family leave by completing a claim form provided by your employer or through the California Employment Development Department’s online filing system.

Is My Job Protected While I Am On Leave?

The paid family leave program only gives employees the right to collect benefits; it does not provide job protection. This means that you can collect benefits from the state, but your employer may not be required to give you the time off or keep your job for you while you are on leave.

However, other state and federal laws may offer the right to take leave and reinstatement after the leave is over. For example, employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave to employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. California’s pregnancy disability leave law also requires employers with five or more employees to provide protected time off for a pregnancy-related disability (although not for bonding leave).

[California Family Rights Act]

New Jersey

Since 2009, New Jersey has provided employees with partial pay while they take time off to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. Paid family leave is funded through deductions from employee paychecks, not through employer contributions.

Who Is Eligible for Paid Family Leave?

To be eligible for benefits, New Jersey employees must meet one of the following wage requirements:

  • worked for at least 20 weeks, making at least $168 per week, during the 52 weeks preceding the claim, or
  • earned at least $8,400 in wages during the 52 weeks preceding the claim.

Employees must also take leave for one of the following covered reasons:

  • for the birth or adoption of a new child
  • to care for a spouse, registered domestic partner, civil union partner, parent, or child with a serious health condition.

Paid family leave is not available when an employee takes leave for his or her own illness. However, for short-term disabilities—including pregnancy and other medical conditions—the employee may be able to collect state disability benefits.

How Much Is Paid Family Leave?

The New Jersey paid family leave program provides partial wage replacements to employees for a limited amount of time. Employees will receive two-thirds of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum set by state law. As of January 1, 2016, the maximum weekly benefit is $615.

Benefits are paid for a maximum of six weeks. A seven-day waiting period applies, which means the employee must be out of work for a full week before starting to receive benefits. However, employees who take more than three weeks of leave will be paid retroactively for the initial week. New mothers who have been receiving state disability insurance benefits due to pregnancy and childbirth are not subject to the waiting week.

Employers can require employees to use up to two weeks of paid accrued leave before starting to receive benefits; one of these weeks counts as the seven-day waiting period.

How Do I Apply For Paid Family Leave?

You can apply for New Jersey's paid family leave by completing a claim form provided by your employer or through the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s online filing system.

You must file your application within 30 days after you begin your leave.

You must also give your employer notice of your leave within a certain time frame. For bonding leave, you must give notice at least 30 days before the start of your leave. Otherwise, you might lose up to 14 days of benefits. For leave to care for an ill family member, you must give your employer reasonable advance notice.

Is My Job Protected While I Am On Leave?

The New Jersey paid family leave program only gives employees the right to collect benefits; it does not provide job protection. This means that you can collect benefits from the state, but your employer may not be required to give you the time off or keep your job for you while you are on leave.

However, other state and federal laws may offer the right to take leave and reinstatement after the leave is over.

[New Jersey Family Leave Act Regulations]

New York

Beginning on January 1, 2018, New York will provide paid family leave benefits to employees who take time off to care for a new baby, to care for an ill family member, or when a family member is called to active military duty. These benefits are paid by the state, not by employers. The program is funded through payroll deductions from employee paychecks.

Who Is Eligible?

Nearly all employees are eligible for paid family leave in New York once they have worked for their employers for at least six months (or 175 days for part-time employees). A few categories of workers are not eligible for paid family leave benefits, including farm laborers and certain workers of religious, educational, or charitable organizations. Independent contractors are not eligible for benefits either.

What Reasons Qualify for Paid Family Leave?

To receive benefits, employees must take leave for one of the following reasons:

  • to bond with a new child within the first year of birth, adoption, or foster placement
  • to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or
  • to attend to urgent matters arising out of a family member’s call to active military duty.

For leave medical leave, a “family member” includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or grandchild. A “serious health condition” is one that requires either inpatient care or continuing treatment and supervision by a health care provider.

For military exigency leave, a “family member” includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent.

Employees may not use paid family leave to recover from their own illnesses or serious health conditions. However, those employees may be eligible for temporary disability benefits through the state.

How Much Are Benefits?

Once fully implemented, New York’s paid family leave program will provide up to twelve weeks of paid leave, which is more than any other state. The benefit rate and duration will be increase over several years as follows:

January 1, 2018: 50% of the employee’s average wages for eight weeks

January 1, 2019: 55% of the employee’s average wages for ten weeks

January 1, 2020: 60% of the employee’s average wages for ten weeks, and

January 1, 2021: 67% of the employee’s average wages for twelve weeks.

However, these benefits are subject to a state cap based on the statewide average weekly wage. For example, in 2018, employees cannot receive more than 50% of the statewide average weekly wage.

Does the Law Provide Job Protection?

Unlike some other state paid family leave laws, New York’s law provides job protection to employees. Employees who take paid family leave are entitled to be reinstated to their normal position or to one that is comparable in pay, benefits, and other conditions of employment. Employers are also prohibited from taking any negative action against an employee for using paid family leave.

How Do I Apply for Benefits?

Beginning on January 1, 2018, you should notify your employer that you plan to file a claim for paid family leave benefits. Your employer will give you the necessary forms to file a claim. If the reason for your leave is foreseeable—for example, a family member has a scheduled surgery—you must give 30 days’ notice. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, you must give your employer as much notice as possible.

[A03870]

Rhode Island

Temporary Caregiver Insurance (“TCI”) provides up to four weeks of partial wage replacement to workers who take time off to bond with a new child or to care for a sick child, spouse, parent, grandparent, parent-in-law, or domestic partner.

Employees can use the leave to bond with a biological child, adopted child, foster child, step child, a legal ward or a child of a domestic partner. Individuals on leave receive approximately two-thirds of their normal pay, though benefits are capped for workers making more than $61,400 per year.

TCI also provides job protection for employees who take caregiver leave. Employers are required to restore workers to the position they held before taking leave or to a position of equivalent seniority, status, employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions. Employers are also required to continue paying their portion of any health benefits workers receive while they are out.

Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance Program (TDI) provides partial wage replacement for participating workers who are temporarily unable to work because of a physical or mental condition, including pregnancy complications and recovery from childbirth. Mothers recovering from childbirth are typically eligible for six weeks for a vaginal birth and eight weeks for a cesarean birth.

[28-41-35]

District of Columbia

Washington state lawmakers enacted a paid family and medical leave law with strong bipartisan support. It will take effect in 2019 and 2020 and provide between 12 and 18 weeks of leave for workers to care for a new child, care for a family member’s serious health condition or deal with their own serious health condition.

Employers are also required to provide employees with parental leave. The employer must allow an employee who is a parent at least 24 hours of unpaid leave during a 12 month period in which to attend or participate in a child’s school-related activities. To be eligible for the leave, the employee must notify his/her employer of the need for the leave at least ten (10) days in advance, or as soon as otherwise possible. An employer may deny an employee parental leave only if granting the leave would disrupt the employer’s business making production or service delivery unusually difficult. [D.C. Code 32-1202]

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts legislature passed a paid family and medical leave law that will take effect in 2019 and be fully phased in by 2021. The law provides 12 weeks of leave to care for a new child or a family member’s serious health condition, up to 20 weeks to care for one’s own serious health condition and up to 26 weeks to care for a covered service member.

[House Bill H.4640]

Are Employees entitled to maternity/parental leave in the USA?

Will You Get Paid Leave?

Many companies don't offer paid parental leave, and no law requires your employer to pay for this time.

A handful of states (including California above) provide partial pay to employees who are unable to work because of pregnancy. These programs, generally part of the state's temporary disability insurance fund, is funded by withholdings from employee paychecks, not from employer contributions. And, they don't provide full compensation.

Your Right to Unpaid Leave

Some federal and state laws give employees a right to take unpaid leave for pregnancy or parenting. Your employer's policies may also give you a right to take time off.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The federal FMLA requires larger employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to workers who need to care for a new child (either by birth or by adoption), among other things.

You can use FMLA leave as pregnancy or parental leave in certain situations. Here are some of the rules that apply:

Pregnancy leave

You are entitled to use FMLA leave for prenatal care and for complications from pregnancy that constitute a serious health condition (such as severe morning sickness or medically required bed rest). If your doctor determines that a period of leave is medically necessary, you will almost certainly be able to use FMLA leave for that purpose.

Parental leave

New parents may use FMLA leave as parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child, or the placement of a foster child. This leave may be taken any time during the first year after your child arrives.

Intermittent parental leave

You may take parental leave intermittently, but only if your employer agrees. For example, you may wish to return to work part-time for a while or take some leave immediately following the birth and some leave later. As long as your employer agrees, you can work out a flexible leave arrangement under the FMLA.

Combining parental leave

If you and your spouse both work for the same employer, your employer may limit you to a combined total of 12 weeks of parental leave, not 12 weeks each. (This rule does not apply to an employee who must take time off for her own serious health condition, however. So if you had a difficult birth and are unable to work for 12 weeks, your husband will still be entitled to up to 12 weeks of parental leave, if requested.)