Monday, November 18, 2019

#NYLA2019 : Take It or Leave It: What You Need to Know about Employee Leaves and Absences

Speakers: Ellen Bach and Robert Schofield from Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP

Description: Everything you need to know about the Family and Medical Leave Act, NY’s Paid Family Leave Act, and the other leave-related legal obligations affecting your library and its employees. Ensure that your policies, procedures, and practices are in compliance, before you face an issue.

Notes: My notes do not do this session justice and so I'm an not sharing them, because they could be misleading. Bach and Schofield provided many details and referred to the applicable laws and regulations. Clearly, they know this area well. What stood out to me are the number of leaves that are available to employees, with some being specific to New York State. The term "leave" was used broadly, with some leaves being measured in hours and others being measured in weeks. The leaves mentioned were:
  • Vacation, sick leave, paid holidays and bereavement leave - generally governed by employer policies
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Paid Family Leave (PFL) - NYS specific
  • American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • NYS Human Rights Law (HRL)
  • Military Leave
  • Military Spouse Leave
  • Jury Duty
  • Voting
  • Blood Donation Leave
  • Bone marrow Leave
  • Cancer screening Leave
  • Breastfeeding Break Time 
  • Domestic Violence Protection
  • Crime Victims Leave

They noted that there are anti-retaliation provisions in these laws.

Clearly libraries and other employers need to understand these leaves and have appropriate policies. If an employer does not have resources in-house for this, they should consult a human resource professional (consultant) and legal counsel.

Addendum (11/19/2019): Bach and Schofield sent participants, who requested it, their slides.  In the slides are two things worth noting. First:
Employees are entitled to certain types of leave under federal, state and local law. Additional leaves may exist by policy or contract.
Employee Leaves can be a hyper technical area of HR management; even the most experienced managers should seek expert assistance when dealing with complex employee leave matters.

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