Labor: City- and state-mandated employee benefits

Local family and medical leave acts go above and beyond the federal standard in some jurisdictions

In recent years, states and cities have enacted various laws requiring private employers to provide certain benefits to their employees beyond those benefits mandated by federal law or traditionally mandated under state law, such as workers’ or unemployment compensation. Many states have enacted family and medical leave laws modeled loosely on the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

While most states require only unpaid leave, some, including California and New Jersey, require paid or partially paid family and medical leave. In addition, some cities have passed ordinances requiring employers in those cities to provide paid sick leave. San Francisco passed the first such law in 2007, requiring employers of all sizes to provide paid sick leave for all employees, including part-time and seasonal workers. More recently, Philadelphia passed an ordinance requiring certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave beginning July 1.

Many states also include in their family and medical leave laws a requirement that employees be permitted to take time off to participate in activities at their child’s school. The amount of leave again varies by city or state: Washington D.C. requires up to 24 hours during a 12-month period, while Nevada requires only four hours per school year. Washington D.C. also extends this leave not only to a child’s parents, but also to aunts, uncles and grandparents.

In regard to health care coverage, most states now mandate that employers include mental health benefits in their group health plans. These laws fall roughly into three categories:

Contributing Author

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Wendy Voss

Wendy K. Voss is a partner with the Wilmington, Del. law firm of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP. She focuses her practice in the areas...

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Contributing Author

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Lindsay Clizbe

Lindsay O. Clizbe is an associate with the firm and defends employers in employment-related lawsuits brought in the Delaware state and federal courts. She also...

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