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Family & Medical Leave

Welcome to FindLaw's Family and Medical Leave section. Here, you will find information on federal and state laws that address when and how an employee can take time off from work to deal with their own health issue or that of a family member.

The United States is one of the few developed countries that does not have a national paid sick or parental leave policy. Federal law requires unpaid leave for certain private and public sector employers. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides as many as 12 work weeks of unpaid leave for medical situations for the employee or a member of the employee's family.

In a recent development, some public sector employees can get paid parental leave. Since 2020, federal workers get 12 weeks of paid parental leave following a child's birth or placement with the family.

While federal paid leave remains lacking in the US, a growing patchwork of state and local paid leave laws is filling the gap. Approximately 20% of U.S. states offer paid family and medical leave, while under 50% provide paid sick leave. Two states, Maine and Nevada, eliminated the family and medical leave aspect and simply require paid time off for any reason. Numerous cities, primarily in California, along with several counties, provide paid leave options.

The FMLA provides minimum standards for family and medical leave. If the leave benefits under city or state law are more generous than those required under federal law, the more generous law must be followed.

This guide provides a short description of the FMLA and brief descriptions of some of the state family and medical leave laws. Read on by clicking on "More," or choose a link from the list below.

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