Leaves of absence can cover several situations, so it is important to know how to coordinate them. Some are paid, some follow the most favorable between state or federal law, some only apply to companies with a certain employee count, and some only apply to individuals meeting certain qualifications. The following chart is not all-inclusive but may help with compliance and is intended to address the most commonly used types of leave.
It is important for employers to know the requirements for each type of leave. For example, to qualify for federal FMLA, an employee must have worked for the employer at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12 months. An employee that has been employed for less than 12 months may not qualify for federal FMLA but may qualify for other protected leaves.
Some laws are also not applicable to smaller employers, so it is important to understand the employee threshold when administering them. For example, a company with 25 employees needs to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act but not with the federal FMLA.
Other leaves are based upon company policy. Those leaves may run concurrently with protected leaves, so it is important for employers to understand the circumstances of the leave to determine if there are state or federal requirements for pay, job reinstatement, or if there are reporting requirements. Some unpaid leave policies incorporate other policies, such as attendance policies, by requiring employees to use available paid time off prior to the approval of unpaid leave time.
The requirements of local, state, or federal law are intended to be the minimum for any leave. Employers are always able to provide benefits that are more favorable to an employee, however, it is important to be consistent with the administration of policies that differ from the minimum requirements to avoid claims of discrimination.
Administering leave time can become a matrix of several policies and laws. Documentation and detailed recordkeeping can help ensure compliance to provide confidence that nothing was missed. The MRA website also has several helpful resources to aid in administering leaves of absence.