Skip to main content

State Job-Protected Family and Medical Leave Laws

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child; to care for a family member who has a serious health condition; to recover from one’s own serious health condition; and for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is a military member on covered active duty or is called to covered active-duty status.

Family members under FMLA include dependent children, spouses, and parents. To qualify for FMLA, workers must meet three eligibility requirements:

  1. Their worksite must have at least 50 workers within a 75-mile radius
  2. They need to have had worked for their employer for at least one year
  3. They must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past year

Seventeen states have passed laws expanding access to unpaid, job-protected leave beyond FMLA’s coverage. Those laws are listed below, along with an explanation of how they differ from FMLA.i

California Family Rights Act: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic partners, children of domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings. Extends coverage to all employees of employers with at least five employees, regardless of how close together employees’ worksites are located.

Colorado Family Care Act: Mirrors FMLA but expands the definition of family member to include children over the age of 18, domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, and sibling.

Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (effective January 1, 2024): Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons and to address the safety needs and impact of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and individuals with whom the employee has a significant personal bond akin to a family relationship. Extends coverage to all employees, regardless of employer size, once an employee has earned at least $2,500 in the last year and worked for their current employer for more than 180 days. Colorado enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons and to donate an organ or bone marrow. Adds up to 12 days of leave for victims of family violence. Expands the definition of family member to include parents-in-law, grandparents, siblings, and individuals related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of those family relationships. Extends coverage to all employees who have worked for their current employer for at least three months, regardless of employer size.

Delaware Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (effective January 1, 2026): Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child (up to 12 weeks); and to care for a family member who has a serious health condition, to recover from a serious health condition, or for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is a military member on covered active duty or is called to covered active-duty status (one period of leave of up to six weeks in any 24-month period). Mirrors FMLA’s tenure and hours-worked requirement; exempts employers with 10 to 25 employees from all but the parental leave provisions; exempts employers with fewer than 10 employees and businesses closed for at least 30 consecutive days each year from all provisions. Delaware enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act: Provides 16 weeks of job-protected leave in any 24-month period to bond with a newborn child, newly adopted child, or child newly placed for foster care or other permanent parental role; and to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. Provides 16 additional weeks of job-protected leave in any 24-month period to any employee who becomes unable work because of a serious health condition. Expands the definition of family member to include all persons to whom the employee is related by blood, legal custody, or marriage; any children who live with the employee and for whom the employee permanently cares; and cohabitants with whom the employee has a committed relationship. Extends coverage to all employees, regardless of employer size, who have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months (consecutive or nonconsecutive) in the past seven years and who worked for at least 1,000 hours during that 12-month period.

Hawaii Family Leave Law: Provides four weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons to employees who have worked for an employer with at least 100 employees for at least 6 consecutive months.

Maine Family Medical Leave: Provides 10 weeks of job-protected leave in any 24-month period to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child; to care for a family member who has a serious health condition; to recover from one’s own serious health condition; to donate an organ; and following the death or serious injury in military service of a family member. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic partners, domestic partners’ children, and siblings. Extends coverage to employees of employers with at least 15 employees in one location.

Maryland Parental Leave: Provides six weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child. Expands coverage to employees who meet FMLA’s tenure and hours-worked requirements but work for an employer with 15 to 49 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (effective January 1, 2025): Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons (including an expanded definition of military exigency). Allows workers to take 24 weeks if eligible for both parental and personal medical leave during the year. Expands the definition of family member to include parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings. Extends coverage to all employees who have worked at least 680 hours over the past 12 months. Maryland enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: Provides 26 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child (up to 12 weeks); care for a family member with a serious health condition (up to 12 weeks); recover from a serious health condition (up to 20 weeks); care for a family member who was injured serving in the armed forces (up to 26 weeks); and manage affairs while a family member is on active duty (up to 12 weeks). Expands the definition of family member to include parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and domestic partners and their family members. Extends coverage to all employees, regardless of employer size, who have earned at least $5,700 (and at least 30 times the paid leave benefit amount) in the past four calendar quarters. Massachusetts enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Minnesota Pregnancy and Parental Leave Act: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child. Eligible employees must work for an employer with at least 21 employees at one site and must have worked at least half time for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive).

New Jersey Family Leave Act: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave in any 24-month period to care for a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child or to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic and civil union partners, parents-in-law, grandparents, siblings, any other blood relative, and any person with whom the employee has a close association equivalent to a family relationship. Extends coverage to employees who have worked for an employer with at least 30 employees for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,000 hours for the employer during the past 12 months.

New York Paid Family Leave: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic partners, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, and (starting in 2023) siblings. Extends coverage to employees who have worked for either 26 consecutive full-time (at least 20-hour) weeks or 175 part-time working days, which do not need to be consecutive. New York enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Oregon Family Leave Act: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child; to recover from a serious health condition or care for a family member who has a serious health condition; to recover from a pregnancy-related disability; and to care for a sick (but not seriously ill) child. An employee who uses all 12 weeks on parental leave is eligible for an additional 12 weeks for sick child leave. An employee who uses pregnancy disability leave is eligible for the full 12 weeks of leave for any other reason. Provides an additional 14 days for employees whose spouse or same-sex domestic partner has been called to or is on leave from active military duty. Provides an additional 10 days after the death of a family member. Expands the definition of family member to include same-sex domestic partners and their children, parents-in-law, grandparents, and grandchildren. Extends coverage to employees who have worked for an employer with at least 25 employees for an average of at least 25 hours per week for 180 days. (To take parental leave, an employee is exempt from the hours-per-week requirement and must only have worked for their employer for 180 days.)

Paid Leave Oregon (effective September 1, 2023): Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child; to recover from a serious health condition or care for a family member who has a serious health condition; and for issues related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic partners, children’s spouses or domestic partners, parents’ spouses or domestic partners, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, spouses or domestic partners of any other family members, and any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship. Extends coverage to all employees who earned at least $1,000 in the prior year. Oregon enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act: Provides 13 consecutive weeks of job-protected leave in any two calendar years to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a family member with a serious illness. Expands the definition of family member to include parents-in-law. Omits employee proximity requirement. Extends coverage to employees who have worked an average of at least 30 hours per week for the past 12 months.

Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance: Provides five weeks of job-protected leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child or to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent. Employees working for employers of any size are covered if they meet monetary eligibility requirements: $14,700 in base period wages (where the base period is the first four of the past five calendar quarters); or $2,450 in one of the base period quarters, total base period wages of at least 1.5 times the highest quarter earnings, and total base period earnings of at least $4,900. Rhode Island enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Vermont Parental Leave and Family Leave: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for pregnancy, to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a family member with a serious illness. Expands the definition of family member to include parents-in-law and parties to a civil union. Requires eligible workers to have worked an average of at least 30 hours per week over the past 12 months. Extends pregnancy and parental leave coverage to employees of employers with at least 10 workers. Extends family and medical coverage to employees of employers with at least 15 workers.

Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave: Provides 12 weeks of job-protected leave for FMLA reasons. Expands the definition of family member to include domestic partners, spouse’s parents, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, spouse’s grandparents, and children-in-law. Omits employee proximity requirement. Washington enacted these job-protection provisions as part of its paid family leave program.

Washington Domestic Violence Leave: Provides job protection for reasonable leave from work, intermittent leave, or leave on a reduced leave schedule for purposes related to domestic violence against, sexual assault of, or stalking of any employee or employee’s family member.

Washington Military Family Leave Act: Provides 15 days of job-protected leave when an employee’s spouse or domestic partner is called to active military duty or is on leave from active duty.

Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act: Provides job protection for two weeks of leave in a calendar year to recover from one’s own serious health condition; two weeks of leave in a calendar year to care for a family member with a serious health condition; and six weeks in a calendar year to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. Extends coverage to employees who have worked for an employer with at least 50 permanent employees during at least six of the past 12 months and have worked at least 1,000 hours in the past 12 months.

Share
Read Next

End Notes:


i Many states not listed in this explainer have passed laws expanding access to job-protected leave for state employees. Most states have separate provisions for pregnancy- and childbirth-related leave. The following states require some or all employers to provide reasonable leaves of absence (with job protection) for pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. (Kentucky also requires employers to provide reasonable unpaid, job-protected leave for adoption.)

The following states require employers to generally treat disability related to pregnancy (or pregnancy itself) as a temporary disability for leave purposes: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Texas, Virgin Islands, and Virginia.

Support Research Like This

With your support, BPC can continue to fund important research like this by combining the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans.

Donate Now
Tags
Share