Legislation introduced to expand FMLA coverage in PA

June 29, 2011
By Eric B. Meyer on June 29, 2011 12:06 AM | | Comments

Thumbnail image for fmla.jpeg

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law, entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to twelve workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; and
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Last week, House Bill No. 1713, otherwise known as the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act, was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Labor and Industry.

How might this bill impact Pennsylvania's already FMLA-qualifying employers? Find out after jump.

* * *

The Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act looks a lot like the FMLA.

There are many ways in which the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act is exactly the same as its federal counterpart:

  • An employee who is FMLA-eligible can utilize the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act. In general, to be eligible, an employee must have worked for an employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the leave.
  • Similarly, the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act only applies to PA employers that are subject to the FMLA. These are businesses with at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius.
  • Eligible Pennsylvania employees get the same protections available under the FMLA. That means up to twelve workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for the reasons set forth above the jump.

But there is one added enhancement for PA employees.

Unlike the FMLA, which only permits time off to care for one's self, a spouse, son, daughter or parent, the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act expands on that by providing up to an additional six weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for an employee's sibling, grandparent or grandchild. However, if the sibling, grandparent or grandchild has: (a) a living spouse; (b) a child over 17 years of age; or (c) a parent under 65 years of age, then the employee cannot take leave under the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act.

A similar, but more employee-friendly, version of the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act was introduced last year and never made it out of committee.

I'll update the blog should the current version go up for a vote.