A new House bill would expand FMLA coverage to very small businesses

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How small? Well, the Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act of 2016 would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employees at worksites that employ 15 or more employees. (Currently, the magic number is 50).

But wait, there’s more.

From the bill summary:

An employee covered by FMLA may take up to 4 hours during any 30-day period, and up to 24 hours during any 12-month period, of parental involvement leave to: (1) participate in or attend activities that are sponsored by a school or community organization, and (2) relate to a program of the school or organization that is attended by the employee’s child or grandchild.

Such parental involvement leave may be used to meet routine family medical care needs, including: (1) such employee’s medical and dental appointments, or their spouse, child, or grandchild; and (2) the care needs of their related elderly individuals, including visits to nursing homes and group homes.

An employee may elect, or an employer may require, substitution of any of the employee’s paid or family leave or paid medical or sick leave for any leave allowed under this bill.

Back in 2014, a similar bill, which would have lowered the employee threshold from 50 to 25, did not gain any traction. According to GovTrack, this is the seventh time that the Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-D) has introduced a version of the Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act. If you’re thinking that this could be lucky number seven, think again. Govtrack gives the 2016 version a 0% chance of being enacted.

However, just remember that, while the FMLA only covered employers with 50 or more employers, your business may operate in a state or locality with a more employee-friendly leave law (e.g., Washington DC, Maine). So double-check those laws to make sure that you remain compliant.

Image Credit: Joe The Goat Farmer on Flickr.
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