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Some are forced by local, state, or federal law, while others are forced to compete for the best talent, but most small businesses are upping their employee benefits packages, especially when it comes to offering family leave. Employers are offering more time off, more of it paid, and to more of their employees.
So if you're wondering whether expanding your family leave benefits is the right thing to do, or a legal thing you must do, you've come to the right place. Here's what you need to know about family leave and your small business:
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law protecting employees who take time off for medical or family reasons, and it's the baseline for family leave requirements.
The FMLA doesn't apply, however, to all employers, nor does it apply to all employees. Find out who's covered.
For those that are covered by the FMLA, employers are required to give proper and adequate notice to their employees. This means providing all employees with general information as well as giving specific employees asking for leave proper notice.
It's 2016, and the notion that only new mothers get time off is outdated and illegal. The FMLA requires at least unpaid paternity leave, and your small biz should consider offering paid time off for new dads.
And not just new fathers. The FMLA may also apply to new adoptive parents and adult children who need time to care for sick or injured parents. Make sure whatever policy you have applies to all employees equally.
Family leave protection is little protection at all if employers can fire employees for taking it. So be careful about layoffs under the FMLA.
Just because some new tech startup offers ridiculous benefits to its employees doesn't mean that will work for your small business. First consider what the law requires, then consider what works best for your employees and your company.
Figuring out which family leave policy fits your small business (and complies with local laws) isn't always easy. If you have more questions about paid leave laws or about setting up a paid family leave policy at your small business, contact an experienced employment law attorney in your area.