Leave Laws in Pennsylvania
In the United States, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) imposes on employers with Fifty (50) or more employees the requirement to provide to their employees an unpaid leave of up to Twelve (12) weeks. States have enacted statutes and regulations imposing the requirements of the FMLA, and have the flexibility to make the leave standards more expansive than federal law. States can also choose to provide employees with paid/unpaid sick leave; however, they are not required to do so under federal law.
I. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993
The FMLA provides up to Twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave during a Twelve (12) month period to care for a newborn or an adopted child, to take care of a family member with a serious health condition, or to attend to the employee’s own serious medical health condition. Employees are eligible for leave under the FMLA if they have worked for their employer for at least Twelve (12) months, at least 1250 hours in the past Twelve (12) months, and work at a location where the company employs Fifty (50) or more employees within Seventy-five (75) miles. Employers must process FMLA leaves in a timely manner.
II. FMLA in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, FMLA is the primary statute imposing the Family Medical Leave (“FML”) obligations. Like federal law, the FML obligations also apply to employers with Fifty (50) or more employees. The eligibility criteria for employees is the same as that under federal law. Moreover, the law allows employees to take unpaid leave for child birth or adoption, to take care of themselves, or to care for a family member with a serious condition. In addition, the FML obligations allow employees to take a leave of up to Twenty-six (26) weeks to take care of a family member injured in active military duty.
The FMLA also applies in Philadelphia and requires employers to allow eligible employees to take up to a total of Twelve (12) work weeks of unpaid leave for circumstances similar to those listed under federal and PA law. The Philadelphia Maternity/Paternity Leave Law also has similar eligibility criteria as the FMLA; however, this law allows employees to take a leave of up to Six (6) months.
III. Sick Leave Laws in Pennsylvania
There is no Pennsylvania state law that requires employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, paid or unpaid. Employers may choose to provide this leave as part of the company policy or by adding it to the employment contract. If these benefits are provided, the employer must ensure compliance with its company rules regarding sick leave payments.
In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance (“Sick Leave Ordinance”) requires employers to provide paid sick leave to the employees. Under the Sick Leave Ordinance, employers with Ten (10) or more employees will need to provide One (1) hour of paid sick time for every Forty (40) hours worked by an employee in the city. Employers with less than Ten (10) employees will have to provide unpaid sick leave on the same terms. The Sick Leave Ordinance allows employees to accrue a maximum of Forty (40) hours of sick time in a calendar year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.