What are some of the key similarities and differences between PFML laws and the FMLA?

What are some of the key similarities and differences between PFML laws and the FMLA?

Paid Family Medical Leave Laws may appear very similar to the federal Family Medical Leave Act, but there are also some very important distinctions.

We can begin with the similarities, which – full disclosure – are not universal, but certainly common, and include:

  • Some same or similar covered uses, such as family care, bonding, and the employee’s own health condition;
  • Coverage of family members, including spouses, parents, and children;
  • Job protection; and
  • Health benefits continuation.

That said, some key differences, which – again are not universal, but common among these laws include:

  • Different covered uses, such as military related reasons for leave, bone marrow & organ donation, and domestic violence.
  • Some PFML laws cover grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, and family members related by affinity, which are not covered under the FMLA;
  • PFML laws generally have relaxed tenure and hours requirements, which is quite a departure from the FMLA; and
  • Some PFML laws do not actually provide for job protection.

The good news is that if the leave reason is covered under FMLA or a state leave law and the employee is eligible, PFML can run concurrently with FMLA or state leave laws. However, if the employee is not eligible for FMLA or a state leave law or the leave reason is not covered under FMLA or the state leave law, the time will not run concurrently.

Remember, even as new PFML laws continue to crop up, employers must follow their FMLA and state leave obligations, especially if they want the time to run concurrently.

PFML laws should be carefully reviewed with your legal counsel to fully capture the similarities and distinctions as they may apply to your workplace and ensure that your policies, forms, and practices are up to date. For more information on engaging employees in today's workplace, please reach out to your Littler attorney.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.