Q: As a small business owner with less than 50 employees do I have to provide maternity leave?
A: Maybe. As a small business with less than 50 employees, you are not required to provide leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and Washington Family Leave Act ("FLA") as you do not qualify. If you employ at least 8 employees, however, you may be required to provide leave for an employee's pregnancy disability under the Washington Law Against Discrimination ("WLAD").
Further, if you are located in Spokane, effective January 1, 2017, you may be required to provide leave under the "earned sick and safe leave" ordinance. Additionally, you may eventually be required to provide partially paid parental leave for employees to take time off to care for a newborn or a newly adopted child under the Washington Family Leave Insurance Act. The Act is not currently in effect as it was postponed due to budget shortfalls in 2015, but may be effective in the future.
Finally, you maybe required to provide leave pursuant to your company's employee handbook.
The attorneys at Lukins & Annis, P.S. can assist you with the legal issues surrounding the employer-employee relationship.
Tori Osler is an attorney at the law firm of Lukins & Annis, where her practice includes employment litigation and consultation, business & corporate law, litigation, and family law.
Published in the Spokane Journal of Business May 5th, 2016.