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Ohio Enacts New Military Families Leave

Ohio has enacted a statute, effective July 2, 2010, providing protected unpaid leave for certain family members of military service members.

Under the act, limited family leave is available when a service member has been called to active duty for more than 30 days or is injured, wounded, or hospitalized while on active duty.

Key provisions include:

  1. The Act applies to employers with 50 or more workers. There is no geographic restriction or limited area within which the workers must be located (i.e., FMLA’s 75-mile limit).
  2. Leave is available to the parent or spouse of the service member, or to a person who has or had legal custody of the service member. These terms are not defined in the Act.
  3. Unpaid leave is available for up to 10 days or 80 hours, whichever is less, per calendar year.
  4. Leave is available only if the employee does not have any other leave available for use except sick or disability leave. [Note: This may be interpreted to mean that the Ohio leave does not run concurrently with military family leave available under the FMLA, but only after such FMLA leave has been exhausted.]
  5. The employee must have worked for the employer for 12 consecutive months and 1250 hours in the 12 months preceding the leave.
  6. Leave is available if the service member has been called to active duty for a period longer than 30 days or has been injured, wounded, or hospitalized while on active duty.
  7. The employee must provide notice of the intent to take leave:
    – Fourteen days prior to the leave, if the leave is due to a call to active duty.
    – Two days prior to the leave, if the leave is due to an injury, wound, or hospitalization.
    – No notice is required if the leave is due to an injury, wound, or hospitalization of a critical or life-threatening nature.
  8. Leave due to deployment to active duty must be taken within two weeks prior to or one week after the service member’s deployment date.
  9. The employer must continue to provide benefits to the employee during the leave, but the employee is responsible for his/her usual proportion of the cost of the benefits. “Benefits” includes, without limitation, medical, disability and life insurance, and pension and retirement plans.
  10. The employer may require the employee to provide certification from military authority to verify that the leave satisfies the requirements of the act.

The full text of the Act may be found at Ohio Revised Code §§5906.01 – .03, 5906.99. http://codes.ohio.gov/ orc/5906


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