Family Leave for Small Employers?
(By Valarie S. Zeeck. April 2007) For almost fifteen years, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act has required any employer with 50 or more employees to permit employees to take 12 weeks of leave annually, for (1) the birth or placement of a child, (2) to receive treatment for their own serious medical condition, and (3) to care for a close relative with a serious medical condition. In its 2007 session, the Washington State Legislature enacted a law that greatly expands the “family leave” component. The law is in its infancy, is a composite of several bills that went through the legislature, and is subject to significant revision before its implementation, but it appears to require smaller employers to provide “family leave” for their employees and guarantee them reinstatement at the end of the leave. In addition, the law would establish an “insurance” program to make the family leave paid. Governor Christine Gregoire signed the bill into law on May 8, 2007. Paid leave provisions be