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More than 70 percent of all American women between the ages of 20 and 54 now work outside the home. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees family leave for employees under certain circumstances. The FMLA requires private sector employers of 50 or more employees and public agencies to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to "eligible" employees for certain family and medical reasons. Employees are "eligible" if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if there are at least 50 employees with 75 miles. Similar provisions may apply to federal and congressional employees.

For more information on the new federal regulations, contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration. The following state regulations augment and supersede the federal requirements for employers:

Alaska

Alaska's family leave law provides state and other public employees with up to 18 weeks of leave every 24 months to care for the serious health condition of a child, spouse, or parent, or for the worker's own serious health condition. Additionally, the law provides 18 weeks of leave per year to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. It covers the state and political subdivisions of the state with at least 21 employees. Workers must work at least 35 hours per week for six consecutive months or 17.5 hours per week for 12 consecutive months to be eligible.

California

California's family leave law provides up to 16 weeks of leave over two years for birth or adoption, or for the serious health condition of a child, spouse, or parent. It applies to employers of 50 or more; employees must be employed for 12 months to be eligible.

Colorado

Colorado provides employees guarantees of a "reasonable period" of leave for pregnancy, child-birth, and adoption.

Connecticut

Connecticut provides 16 weeks of family and medical leave every two years for employers of 75 or more.

Employees must be employed for 1,000 hours in the 12-month period preceding the first day of leave to be eligible. Connecticut also provides state employees with a total of 24 weeks over two years for family or medical leave.

Connecticut's pregnancy disability law provides job-guaranteed leave for the period that a worker is physically disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. The law covers employers with three or more employees; certain family businesses are exempted.

Delaware

Delaware provides state employees who have had one year of continuous employment with six weeks of family leave for adoption or birth of a child.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia's family and medical leave law provides up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave every two years to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or for a seriously ill family member. "Family member" is defined broadly to include a person related by blood, legal custody, or marriage, or a person with whom an employee shares a residence in the context of a committed relationship. Sixteen weeks of medical leave every two years is separately available for the employers of 50 or more for the first three years after enactment; covers employers of 50 or more for the first three years after enactment; covers employers of 20 or more thereafter. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least 1,000 hours during the last 12 months to be eligible.

Florida

Florida law grants up to six months of family leave per year to state employees for birth or adoption or for the serious illness of a worker's spouse, child, or parent.

Georgia

Georgia provides up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave per year for state employees. Employees must be employed for at least 12 months and 1,040 hours to be eligible.

Hawaii

For state employees, and for private sector employers of 100 or more, Hawaii law provides employees four weeks of family leave for birth, adoption, or the serious health conditions of a child, spouse, or parent.

Hawaii also provides pregnancy disability leave to all employees for the period that a worker is physically disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Illinois

Illinois provides certain permanent, full-time state employees with family leave of up to one year for "bona fide family responsibilities" (including birth or adoption, or care of a seriously ill family member).

Iowa

Iowa provides up to eight weeks' pregnancy disability leave. Employers with four or more employees are covered.

Kansas

Kansas provides pregnancy disability leave for the period that a worker is physically disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers with four or more employees are covered.

Kentucky

Kentucky provides all employees with six weeks' leave for adopting a child under age seven.

Louisiana

Louisiana provides up to four months of leave to employees who are temporarily disabled because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Only six weeks of disability leave is generally available for normal pregnancy or childbirth. Employers with 26 or more employees are covered.

Maine

Maine provides ten weeks of family and medical leave over a two-year period. Employers with 25 or more employees are covered. Employees must work for the same employer for 12 consecutive months to be eligible.

Maryland

Maryland provides 12 weeks of leave for birth, adoption, or family illness for state employees.

Massachusetts

Female employees in Massachusetts are eligible for eight weeks of leave for birth or adoption of a child under age three. Employees are eligible after completing employer's initial probationary period or three consecutive months as a full-time employee. Covers employers of six or more employees.

Minnesota

Minnesota employers with 21 or more employees must provide their employees with six weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Employees must work 12 months at 20 or more hours per week to be eligible.

Missouri

Missouri provides equal leave for childbirth and adoption for state employees.

Montana

Montana provides pregnancy disability leave for workers when temporarily disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Covers employers with one or more employees.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire provides pregnancy disability leave for workers when temporarily disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Covers employers of six or more.

New Jersey

New Jersey provides 12 weeks of leave over a 24-month period for birth, adoption, or the serious health condition of a child, parent, or spouse. Employers of 50 or more are covered. Employee must have been employed at least 1,000 hours in the 12 months before the leave to be eligible.

New York

New York provides equal leave for childbirth and adoption.

North Carolina

North Carolina provides all state employees with pregnancy disability leave when temporarily disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

North Dakota

North Dakota provides state employees (with one-year minimum employment at an average of 20 hours per week) our months of leave per year for birth, adoption, or serious health condition of spouse, child, or parent.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma provides state employees with 12 weeks of family leave per year for birth or adoption, or for the care of a critically ill child or dependent adult. Employees must work six months to be eligible.

Oregon

Oregon's family leave law provides employees with 12 weeks of leave every two years for the illness of a child requiring "home care," or to care for a child, spouse, or parent suffering from "any mental or physical condition requiring constant care." Covers employers with 50 or more employees.

Oregon's parental leave law provides 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a child or for adopting a child up to age 12. This law covers employers of 25 or more employees; employees are eligible after 90 days of employment. Employees hired on a seasonal or temporary basis are not covered. Oregon provides pregnancy disability leave for the period of physical disability if such leave can be reasonably accommodated.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island provides up to 13 weeks of family medical leave over a two year period. Covers private employers with 50 or more employees; city, town, or municipal agencies with 30 or more employees; and all state agencies. Employee must be employed for an average of 30 or more hours per week by same employer for 12 consecutive months to be eligible.

Tennessee

Tennessee provides up to four months of leave for pregnancy disability and childbirth. Covers employees who have worked full-time for 12 consecutive months at companies with 100 or more employees.

Texas

Texas provides state employees six weeks' leave for childbirth or adoption.

Vermont

Vermont provides 12 weeks of family and medical leave per year. Employers of ten or more must provide leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child; employers of 15 or more must also provide leave to care for the serious health conditions of a child, spouse, or parent, or for the worker's own serious health condition. Employees must work for at least one year for an average of 30 hours per week to be eligible.

Virginia

Virginia provides state employees with six weeks of parental leave per year for birth or adoption.

Washington

Washington's parental leave law provides 12 weeks of leave over a two year period for the birth, adoption, or serious illness of a child. Employees must be employed 52 weeks at 35 or more hours per week to be eligible. Covers employers of 100 or more employees.

Effective October 28, 1973, Washington also provides pregnancy disability leave for the period of physical disability. Covers employees of eight or more.

West Virginia

West Virginia provides state and school employees with 12 weeks of leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child, or for the serious health condition of a spouse, child, or parent. Employees must have 12 consecutive weeks of employment to be eligible.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin provides six weeks of leave for birth or adoption of a child; two weeks of leave for serious health condition of a child, spouse, or parent; and two weeks of medical leave for a worker's own serious health condition (including pregnancy disability). No more than ten weeks may be taken in a 12-month period for any combination of these reasons. Law covers employers with 50 or more employees; an employee must be employed for 52 consecutive weeks and have worked 1,000 hours to be eligible.