Maryland Parental Leave Act for Small Employers

maryland-43786_1280Maryland’s Parental Leave Act (PLA) became effective October 1, 2014.  The PLA requires small employers, with between 15 and 49 employees in Maryland, to provide an unpaid leave of absence to employees for the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

During a twelve month period, employers are required to provide six weeks of unpaid time off under the PLA.  This is the main difference between PLA and the federally mandated leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which allows up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave.

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Return to Work Program for Injured Employees

1078874_65912525Return to work programs help employees who have been out on disability to gradually make their way back into the workplace.  If designed properly, such a program should include a variety of both transitional and temporary assignments.  These are not jobs with pre-set tasks, which are routinely assigned to employees who are coming back to their usual jobs after temporary restrictions.  Rather, they are flexible assignments with tasks that take into account the needs of the employees who have temporary impairments.

Keep in mind that return to work plans should be individualized, rehabilitative in focus, and ideally, the tasks should be as close to pre-injury work as possible.  Here are some specific things to do and not do to follow when designing these plans.

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FMLA Coverage and Missed Benefit Payments

yes-238374_1280An employee on unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave agreed to pay his share of premiums for coverage under the company’s major medical plan by sending in personal checks.  However, he has missed the due date for the first payment.  Can the company drop him from coverage, and if so, when?

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Military Leave: Employers Must Know Your Duties

Q. Camilitary-men-569899_1280n I have an agreement with an employee not to join the National Guard or Reserves?

A. No.  Federal and state laws encourage military service.  There’s not a court in the land that would recognize such an agreement.

Q. What obligations do I have when employees are in the Guard and Reserves?

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Employee Recognition and Perks That Won’t Bust Your Budget

thumb-422147_1280Looking for low or no-cost ways to bring a little fun into the workplace and tell your employees that you value them?  Here are 10 ideas that might increase job satisfaction at your company.

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Home Care Workers: Delayed Enforcement of Wage, Overtime Rules

clock-611619_1280The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced that it will delay enforcement of certain rules pertaining to home care workers.  These “direct care workers” provide home care services and include certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, caregivers and companions.

For six months, the Department of Labor (DOL) will not bring enforcement actions against employers for violations of obligations resulting from amended regulations announced released last year.

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COBRA for Employees’ Family Members

family-730320_1280When an employee drops dependents and spouses from our company’s group health plan during open enrollment, we provide the dropped individuals COBRA election materials.  But our new COBRA third-part adviser is telling us that we don’t have to provide a COBRA election notice to dependents and spouses who are dropped at open enrollment.  Is our plan required to offer COBRA coverage to these individuals?

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