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Ohio Law Extends Past Federal Law

This past fall, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) extended Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) coverage to same-sex spouses. In an October 21, 2013 memorandum for executives of federal departments and agencies, OPM Acting Director Elaine Kaplan explained that the Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, which defined “spouse” and “marriage” to include only relations between a man and a woman. As a result, Kaplan stated that federal employees are permitted to avail themselves of FMLA to care for a same-sex spouse.

Ohio employees are protected

Ohio employers are legally bound to obey the federal FMLA. Under FMLA, employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave for major health conditions, caring for a child after birth or adoption, incapacity due to pregnancy and caring for a spouse, child or parent who is suffering a serious health condition. Ohioans may also take up to 26 weeks in a 12-month period, under FMLA, for military caregiver leave — one time per service member.

Who is covered by federal law?

Ohio employers who have a minimum of 50 employees for at least 20 weeks during the last year are subject to the FMLA. To avail themselves of the FMLA’s protections, Ohio employees must have:

  • Worked for the employer for one full year
  • Worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the last year
  • Worked at a location that employed 50 employees within a 75-mile radius

While on leave, employees keep their health insurance at the same cost that they pay when working. Another important element of FMLA is that employees who are returning from their break are entitled to be reinstated to the same or equivalent positions.

Ohio law goes further

In addition to the rights offered by the FMLA, the Ohio Military Family Leave Law requires Ohio employers with 50 or more employees to give time off to an employee who is the parent, spouse or legal guardian of a soldier who is called to active duty for more than 30 days or who is injured on active service. These employees are eligible for 10 days or 80 hours of unpaid leave.

The Family and Medical Leave act remains a complicated mystery to many Ohio employers. If you suspect that you are being denied your legal rights, call Ohio Family and Medical Leave Act attorneys to schedule a free consultation.

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