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November 3, 2008    DOL Home > ESA > WHD > State Labor Laws > Family & Medical Leave   

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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Wage and Hour Division - To promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce.

Federal vs. State Family and Medical Leave Laws

These pages compare the provisions of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with similar statutes that have been enacted by 11 states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. Unless noted, the comparison only reflects the statutes that have been enacted by the states, not regulations that may have been enacted by the responsible state agency. For example, the Federal Act and a state statute may use an identical term like "serious health condition," but DOL and the state agency may define that term somewhat differently in their regulations. In preparing the tables for each state (as discussed below), however, we only have compared the key provisions of the Federal FMLA with each State’s statutory provisions.

Note that states may have other statutes that affect an employee's right to leave for particular purposes such as pregnancy, attendance at school activities, organ or blood marrow donations, worker's compensation, and disability. States also may regulate by separate statute or regulation leave and related provisions for employees of state, county, and other governmental agencies. Users are encouraged to utilize the links to particular state labor agencies [state labor offices] in order to obtain more complete information about a state's laws affecting employment leave for family, medical, and other purposes. For more complete information about the federal family and medical leave act, users are encouraged to utilize the following link: WH FMLA Page.

For each state, a table has been provided to allow for a comparison of the provisions of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the State’s corresponding statute. The major provisions of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act are listed, by topic, in the first column of each table, the second column summarizes the elements of the Federal law; and the third column the corresponding State elements. For example, the table shows the similarities, or differences, in Federal/State employer coverage requirements, the similarities or differences in definitions of a "serious health condition," and whether or not employers must maintain an employee's health and medical benefits if the employee is absent under Family and Medical leave. In using the tables, however, users should be mindful that the statute’s coverage and eligibility provisions must be satisfied as a condition for leave under the Federal statute, the State statute, or both.

Covered employers must comply with the federal or state provision that provides the greater benefit to their employees. The U.S. Department of Labor will not enforce State family and medical leave laws, and States may not enforce FMLA. Employees have no obligation to designate whether the leave they are taking is FMLA leave as opposed to leave under State law.

The information provided in the tables is effective as of January 1, 2008. We plan to update this comparison periodically. Users are encouraged to refer to the Family and Medical Leave Act compliance assistance page for links to the text of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, DOL’s regulations, and additional compliance information about Federal law. Note: On January 28, 2008, the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA) amending the FMLA to provide important new leave entitlements to military families. Additional information is available on the FMLA NDAA Web site.

Further information on Federal FMLA may be obtained by contacting the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, or by dialing 1-866-487-9243.


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