Absence Leave Laws: Do you know the differences?

The last few months have seen not only the United States but the entire world take a step back, slow down, and readjust as COVID-19 continues to sweep across the globe. Cities, states, and the federal government have been putting public health emergency regulations in place to support employees during this time. However, don’t forget that there are existing leave regulations in place that may need to be considered as you review employees’ leave of absence requests! 

What Types of Leave Regulations are Available? 

In order to stay compliant with federal, state, and city regulations, you need to know which types of leaves are available to an employee by law.  

Aside from the new public health emergency leaves, the leave of absence landscape is very complex. Below, we’ve broken down the various federal, state, and city leave laws into four categories:  

Family and Medical Leave (FML) 

This type of leave offers eligible employees access to unpaid job-protected leave for a variety of reasons and durations. The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of leave for one’s own serious health condition, and to care for a parent, spouse or child, as well as bond with a newborn child. Most states have enacted their own Family and Medical Leaves in an attempt to be more generous than the federal law, by reducing eligibility criteria, increasing durations, or including additional family members. 

Paid Family Leave 

With Paid Family Leave, also known as PFL, temporary caregiver insurance, or family leave insurance, eligible employees are entitled to paid time off work to care for specified family members without a total loss of earnings. With PFL Employees may be eligible for paid leave for varying reasons, like caring for a family member, pregnancy/childbirth, and bonding.  Although there is no Federal PFL, these leaves are increasing in popularity across the country and vary in duration and eligible family members. Currently, the following states have passed Paid Family Leave Laws – California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Oregon.  

Paid Medical Leave 

Also known as State Disability Insurance (SDI), Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI), or Disability Benefits Law (DBL), Paid Medical Leave allows eligible employees to take paid time off work for their own medical reasons without a total loss of earnings.  Today, 5 states have a form of  Disability Insurance, including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico 

Paid Sick Time 

While there is no federal law provides paid sick time, more than 10 states and several municipalities require or will soon require employers’ to provide employees the ability to take paid time off work when sick.  This leave is typically accrued based on the hours an employee worked over a certain period of time and covers an employee’s own illness. 

Compliant Absence Management 

As the volume of employees seeking leave, to care for family members and children, or for their own illness, it is more important now than ever before to ensure your company has a sufficient and compliant absence management process. 

With many employees working remotely, access to paper files in the office is a non-compliable resource for some companies currently. Having a cloud-native absence management system in place eliminates the need for paper files and allows your leave department to manage increasing leave volumes while staying compliant.  

We know that these regulations can be confusing at the best of times. Our leave of absence experts have created a downloadable back-to-basics guide, which outlines the key features of each absence leave law type for you and your team. It also delves into further detail, such as the jurisdictions covered and additional considerations for employees, so you and your team can better navigate the absence landscape.  

About the author

Author Denise Garth

Denise Garth is Chief Strategy Officer responsible for leading marketing, industry relations and innovation in support of Majesco’s client centric strategy, working closely with Majesco customers, partners and the industry.