Skip to main content


State by State Guide to Family Medical Leave & Parental Leave Laws

In the United States three main levels of employment law can apply to employers simultaneously. Locally, businesses may have to comply with city or county employment law. In addition every state has labor laws and the United States Department of Labor ...

family friendly sign 1  5852dc5a36bf7

In the United States three main levels of employment law can apply to employers simultaneously. Locally, businesses may have to comply with city or county employment law. In addition every state has labor laws and the United States Department of Labor oversees employee to employer relationships.

In the case of Family or Medical leave, this sometimes means that employers have to be aware of multiple laws. While often these laws appear to duplicate requirements, in reality, these laws often create variations of requirements for compliance. Owners, managers, and HR departments are often not aware of the variations and inadvertently break these leave laws.

[This article first appeared on the SwipeClock blog.]

The is why SwipeClock has published a series of articles designed to help the business owner and  human resources or payroll employee more easily maintain compliance. Topics range from minimum wage and sick leave laws to overtime laws. This article will provide a synopsis of Family, Medical, and Parental Leave Laws across the U.S.A.

However, knowledge is seldom enough for human resources and payroll experts to maintain compliance. That is why SwipeClock offers comprehensive software that makes compliance easier and consistent for any size of human resources department.

SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.

Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.

United States Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was put into law in 1993. The law oversees companies across the United States. FMLA applies to employers who have at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.  Their employees who have worked at least 1 year and 1,250 hours in the last year are eligible for FMLA leave.

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave for family or medical purposes. In specific circumstances, employees can take up to 26 weeks of protected leave. Employees are able to take leave to bond with new children, care for ill family members, or take care of their own serious illness. Family members that are included in the act includes the employee’s child, spouse, or parents.

In addition, when an employee leaves to care for a seriously ill service member, they may take up to 26 weeks of leave. Lastly, employees may take leave for military exigencies.  

California Family Medical Leave and Pregnancy Leave

Both the California Family Rights Act and Pregnancy Disability Act provides protected leave for families.

The Pregnancy Disability Act covers employers with 5 or more employees and provides up to 4 months of leave due to pregnancy disability. Often this leave can be used simultaneously with FMLA leave. Employees are eligible for pregnancy disability leave for every pregnancy, regardless of if two pregnancies occur in the same year or not. One exception to this is with new employees who would not qualify for FMLA leave and small businesses employees.  

In addition, California also requires protected leave through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). CFRA provides 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period. As with FMLA, CFRA provides leave for bonding after the birth or placement of a child into the home, to care for seriously ill family members, or for the employee’s own serious illness.

One key difference from FMLA is that CFRA provides leave for more family relationships. When these relationships are the reason for leave, the employee only uses CFRA and will not simultaneously take FMLA..

Colorado Family Care Act

The Colorado Family Care Act is the most ambiguous and unclear statewide leave law in the country. Its stated purpose is to expand the reach of the FMLA. It seeks to expand coverage for additional relationships that employees can take family leave under. However, a state law does not have the authority to expand the scope of the federal FMLA. Instead, the Colorado Family Care act inadvertently creates a second protected leave for employees who take leave for these additional family members. Those employees would still have additional full leave coverage provided under FMLA.

Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act

The Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act (CFMLA) provides up to 16 weeks of leave every 24 months. In addition, its requirements for eligibility differ slightly from FMLA requirements. CFMLA provides additional coverage for the relationship of parent-in-law and provides leave for organ or bone marrow donations. Due to these and and other subtle differences, employers may have to provide separate full FMLA and CFMLA leave to employees.

D.C. Family Medical Leave Act

The Washington D.C. Family Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) provides protected leave of 16 weeks every 24 months. Currently  the leave is unpaid, but in 2020, the paid leave will be available to employees. DCFMLA covers businesses with 20 or more employees, who have to work 1,000 hours in the year previous to taking leave. The differences in qualification criteria means that there are employees who may only qualify for one of the leaves or the other. DCFMLA expands family relationships to include a person related by blood or affinity, person sharing a residence, and child living with the employee. Additionally DCFMLA does not include leave reasons relating to the call to active military service like FMLA. This means that there are several cases where employees would have access to both the 16 weeks and the additional 12 weeks of leave covered by both laws.

Hawaii Family Leave Law

Hawaii Family Leave Law (HFLL) applies to employers with 100 or more employees and provides up to 4 weeks of protected leave. The law covers leave to care for a family member’s serious illness, but not the employee’s own serious illness. In addition HFLL covers additional family members including more covered child relationships, parent-in-law, and grandparents. That means that even if reasons for the leave run consistent with FMLA leave laws, if the leave is for one of these expanded relationships, the employee would get separate leave for HFLL and FMLA.


Read the full list of state-by-state family and medical leave laws.