Most of us are very familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires unpaid leave, a continuation of benefits, and reinstatement of employees who take off of work for various health and military-leave related reasons.
Fortunately, the FMLA only applies to employers with fifty or more employees, and we currently have no comparable state law that would apply to smaller employers.
That is probably going to change in the near future.
This week, Maryland became the tenth state to recently pass a law requiring private employers to provide paid family and medical leave. Similar bills are currently pending in at least twenty-five other states, including Louisiana.
Louisiana currently has no less than two Bills pending in the House and Senate that would require private employers to provide paid leave for sickness, and family and parental leave, and one that would require governmental employers to provide similar paid leave benefits. The Bills would variously apply to employers with at least five or twenty employees, and one would apply to state employees. (Senate Bill 289, House Bill 1003, and House Bill 945 respectively). Although employers do not need to take any concrete action in response to any of these Bills at this time, it would be a good idea to keep them on your radar. If any of these become law, they will present significant changes.