Indiana’s Military Family Leave Act (the “Act”) took effect on July 1, 2007. This new law requires covered employers to allow up to 10 days of unpaid leave to a spouse, parent, grandparent, or sibling of a service member called to active duty in the armed forces of the United States or the Indiana National Guard for a period that exceeds 89 consecutive calendar days. The law applies to employers that employ at least 50 employees for each working day during at least 20 calendar work weeks. To be eligible, an employee must (1) have been employed for at least 12 months and (2) have worked at least 1,500 hours during the 12-month period preceding the day the leave begins. Eligible employees are entitled to the 10 days of unpaid leave per year during one or more of the following periods: (1) during the 30 days before the active duty orders are in effect, (2) during a period in which the person ordered to active duty is on leave while the active duty orders are in effect, or (3) during the 30 days after the active duty orders are terminated. An eligible employee may elect, or the employer may require, that the employee substitute any earned paid vacation leave, personal leave or other paid leave (except medical or sick leave) for any part of an unpaid military family leave. Employees wishing to take a leave of absence must provide a written request of the date the leave will begin and a copy of the active duty orders, if available. Generally, unless the family member’s active duty orders are issued less than 30 days before the leave begins, employees are required to provide employers with 30-days written notice of a request for leave. During a leave, the eligible employee is permitted to continue healthcare benefits at his/her own expense. Upon return from leave, employers are required to restore the employee to his/her previous position or an equivalent position. The employer may place the employee in a different position only if the employer can show that the move to the new position was unrelated to the employee’s use of leave under the Act. Should an employer interfere with, restrain or deny the employees exercise of his/her rights under the Act; the employee may bring a civil action whereby the circuit court may (1) enjoin the act or practice that violates the Act and (2) order any other equitable relief that is just and proper under the circumstances.
Affected employers should review their leave policies to ensure compliance. We recommend that employers contact their legal counsel to review their current leave policies and procedures.