Effective July 2, 2010, Ohio employers with 50 or more employees will be required to provide two weeks of unpaid leave for an employee who is the spouse, parent, or a person who has or had custody of a member of the uniformed services when that member is deployed or injured. Under the Ohio Military Family Leave Act, the requirement for such leave applies without regard to whether the employer has 50 employees within 75 miles of the worksite, as distinguished from the coverage threshold under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Under the Act, employees may take leave up to 10 days or 80 hours (whichever is less) once per calendar year. To do so, the employee must satisfy the following conditions:
- Length of Employment: The employee must be employed by the employer for at least 12 consecutive months and for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding commencement of the leave.
- Family Relationship: The employee must be the parent, spouse, or a person who has or had legal custody of a person who is a member of the uniformed services when that member is called for active duty longer than 30 days or is injured while serving on active duty.
- Notice: The employee must provide 14 days notice of intended leave for active duty deployment or two days notice of intended leave for injuries. No notice is required for leave taken because of critical or life-threatening injuries.
- Time Frame: Leave must be taken no more than two weeks prior to or one week after the date of deployment.
- Exhaustion of Other Leave: The employee must exhaust all available forms of leave, except sick leave or disability leave.
The Act also includes an anti-retaliation provision which prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or denying an employee from taking leave under the law. Additionally, an employer may not discharge, fine, suspend, expel, discipline, or discriminate against an employee with respect to any term or condition of employment because of the employee’s actual or potential exercise, or support for another employee’s exercise, of any right established under this chapter. Employers may, however, take an employment action that is independent of the exercise of a right under the new law.
After July 2, 2010, Ohio employers are prohibited from entering into a collective bargaining agreement or employee benefit plan that limits or requires an employee to waive the rights established under the Act. For employers subject to a current collective bargaining agreement with military leave provisions that conflict with the Act, the conflicting agreement will control until its expiration date. Upon expiration of the conflicting agreement, the employer must comply with the military leave provisions under the Act.