Ohio Proposes New Maternity Leave Policy

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Maternity Leave Policy

The Ohio Civil Rights Commissionrecently proposed that the state require employers to offer a maternityleave policy that exceeds what is offered under the 1993 federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the New York Times reports.

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Thefederal law requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offerwomen who have worked at the business for one year -- or 1,250 hours --12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for an infant. The Ohio commission'sproposal would require businesses with four or more employees to offerwomen 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, regardless of how long theyhave been employed by the business.

Under the proposal, womenwould need a doctor's order to qualify if they do not meet eligibilityfor FMLA. The commission next month is expected to submit the finalproposal to a joint state Senate and House committee, which couldapprove the changes without further legislative action. According tothe Times, the commission is revising the proposal afterreceiving complaints from business groups claiming that the regulationswould hurt small businesses and the state's economy.

Tony Fiore, director of labor and human resources policy for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce,said that requiring businesses to hold positions for 12 weeks and toprovide leave for women immediately after beginning work would be ahardship. Ty Pine, legislative director for the Ohio branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said the market had established reasonable maternity leave policies for workers and businesses.

JeanineDonaldson, who is leading the commission, said a new maternity leavepolicy is necessary to ensure women are protected againstdiscrimination. Donaldson said that she was willing to compromise onthe number of weeks of guaranteed leave under the proposal but that shehoped to maintain the requirement that a woman's length of employmentwould not affect her eligibility (Driehaus, New York Times, 8/12).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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