Medical Leave

Employees in Maryland and the District of Columbia who fall ill or have family members who are afflicted with serious illnesses are guaranteed a certain amount of time off without fear of losing their jobs under both federal and state laws. The following is a summary of the more salient provisions of applicable federal and state laws:

Family Medical LEAVE Act (FMLA) (Federal)

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take up to twelve weeks of leave during the preceding twelve months to care for a serious illness in themselves or a family member.  Employees must have worked for 1,250 hours in the preceding twelve months, and their employer must employ at least 50 employees within 75 miles.  There are some additional requirements regarding providing the employer with notice if possible.  Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee for taking leave pursuant to the provisions of the Act.  For immediate family of members of the armed services, the Act has more generous provisions (military caregiver leave).

District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act

The District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act, while similar to the federal act, has more generous provisions.  It applies to employers with 20 or more employees (but not to federal employees).  Employers must provide up to sixteen weeks of leave in a twenty-four month period, and the employee has the option of using paid leave or not.  Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who invoke their right to take leave under the act.

Maryland Flexible Leave Act

The Maryland Flexible Leave Act takes a different and more limited approach than the Family Medical Leave Act.  For people who work at employers who have 15 or more employees and offer paid leave, the Act requires that employees be allowed to use their accrued paid leave to attend to the illness of an immediate family member.  An employer may not fire, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who takes leave pursuant to the provisions of the Act.