Many employers are aware of The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). This federal law generally provides that companies who employ 50 or more employees within 75 miles must allow employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption or foster care placement of a child, or to attend to a serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s parent, spouse or child.
In addition to the FMLA, Maryland has enacted a new law, the Parental Leave Act (“PLA”), which became effective on October 1, 2014. The PLA, which applies to employers of 15-49 employees, requires those small employers to provide employees up to 6 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period for the birth of a child or for adoption or foster care placement. Unlike the FMLA, there is no leave benefit under the PLA related to a serious health condition. In order to be eligible for PLA leave, an employee must have been employed for at least 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours prior to the requested leave.