How Do FMLA Laws Differ By State?
The has made it possible for employees to have time away from work in order to bond with a new child or provide care for sick or injured family members or for themselves while recovering from sickness or illness. In spite of being a federal law, FMLA is governed by the states, with each state having its own rules for implementing parental leave.
While this allows states autonomy in how they provide medical leave benefits to employees of large companies, it can be confusing for individuals to obtain instructions for accessing FMLA benefits where they live. Fortunately, DoNotPay makes the task of seeking parental leave easy.
What Is FMLA?
The coverage is required for workers of companies with at least 50 or more employees and provides up to 12 weeks of job-secure, unpaid leave. However, some states extend this coverage to those with fewer employees, while a handful of states and DC provide paid parental leave benefits for employees.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Parental Leave Benefits Through FMLA?
In order to obtain parental leave benefits through FMLA, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have worked for the company for at least 12 months. Note: The 12 months do not have to be consecutive.
- You worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours before requesting the leave, which is about 24 hours a week for a year.
- You work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
- You gave birth, adopted, or fostered a child within the last year, or assumed parental responsibility of a child.
What Is Covered Through FMLA?
The parental leave benefits available through FMLA are available to both mothers and fathers and include:
- Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to bond with a newborn child, a child who has been placed in the home for adoption, or a child who has been placed in the home through foster care.
- The parental leave taken must be used in one continuous block of time unless the employer agrees to intermittent leave.
- Up to 12 weeks of protected time off in order to care for a sick or injured family member or to recover from a medical condition.
States With Paid Parental Leave Benefits
As previously mentioned, some states provide paid parental leave benefits through their FMLA program. Here is a look at the provisions in these states:
|California||Allows up to 8 weeks of paid leave, with payments equaling 60-70 percent of the worker's average weekly wages.|
|New York||Allows up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid time off at 67 percent of the worker's average weekly wages up to a cap of 67 percent of the average weekly wage in the state.|
|New Jersey||Allows up to 12 weeks of paid time off at 85 percent of the average weekly wages, with benefits available to most employees in the state except federal employees, those who work for an out-of-state company, and independent contractors.|
|Massachusetts||Allows up to 26 weeks of benefits to employees who have earned at least $5,700 for their employer if the employer is required to provide benefits or opts into the program.|
|Washington||Allows up to 12 weeks of paid, protected leave for employees who have worked at least 820 hours during a qualifying period (about 16 hours a week). Federal employees, self-employed individuals, and those working on tribal lands are not eligible.|
|DC||Up to 8 weeks of paid, protected leave in order to bond with a new child who has been added to the family through birth, adoption, or foster care.|
How to Obtain Parental Leave Benefits in Your State
The application process for obtaining paid parental leave benefits depends on each state's program. However, these elements are involved in each state's application process:
- Providing notification to the employer requesting parental leave, preferably at least 30 days before the leave is scheduled
- Applying for the benefits through the state's process. Generally, benefits can be applied online or by mail.
- Providing documentation of the child's birth, adoption, or other paperwork to prove that they have recently joined your family
Although parental leave benefits are provided as a result of FMLA, a federal law, the most difficult part of the process for many individuals is figuring out which benefits are available for them and the process by which the state requires them to apply. Fortunately, DoNotPay provides the information you need to quickly and easily go through the process of requesting and receiving your FMLA benefits.
How to Request Parental Leave in Any State Through DoNotPay
In order to request parental leave or to apply for your benefits through DoNotPay, simply follow these steps:
- Tell us which state you work in (if you work in CA, NY, NJ, MA, WA, or DC, your state has a paid family leave program).
- Choose whether you want us to apply to the program for you or contact your employer with your leave request. If you want to apply for the program, we will walk you through the questions on the form and mail the application form for you.
- If you want us to contact your employer, enter your leave details, including the starting date, number of weeks of leave, and how many weeks of paid leave you are requesting (for example, you may take a 12 week leave, but only request eight weeks of paid leave to make the request reasonable).
- Indicate whether you are the birth parent or not (birth parents have a few additional legal protections).
- Enter the name of your company and the person to address this request to.
- Select whether you want us to email the request to your employer on your behalf.
Please note: If you choose the option to apply to your state benefits program, we could mail the completed application form on your behalf. You should receive confirmation from them in a few weeks. If you choose the option for us to email your employer on your behalf, their response will be sent directly to the email you entered in our chat.
Trust DoNotPay to Help You With Your Daily Tasks
People choose DoNotPay to assist them with a variety of daily tasks, including requesting parental leave, sick leave, paying traffic tickets, filing a complaint, and much more. The reason they trust DoNotPay is that it is:
- Fast: You don't have to spend hours researching the issue.
- Easy: No more struggling with forms or trying to remember passwords for dozens of websites offered by government agencies or service companies.
- Successful: You can rest assured that we have completed your task properly.
Want to learn more? Sign up or sign in to DoNotPay today!