• Deployment of Family Members in the Armed Services Act
  • May 27, 2013
  • Law Firm: Gordon Feinblatt LLC - Baltimore Office
  • Employers that employ fifty or more individuals will now be required to provide leave to an eligible employee on the day when a spouse, parent, step-parent, child, step-child or sibling of the employee is leaving for, or returning from, active duty outside the United States as a member of the armed forces.  The law does not require that all fifty employees be employed in Maryland, so it apparently applies to any eligible employee who works in Maryland, regardless of how many other individuals the employer employs in the state. 

    To be eligible for leave under the new law, an employee must have worked for his/her employer for the twelve months prior to taking leave and for at least 1,250 hours during that twelve month period.
     
    Employers may not require eligible employees to use sick, vacation or other paid time off when taking leave under the new law.  Employers may, however, require employees who request leave under the law to submit proof verifying that the leave is taken when an immediate family member has been deployed or is returning from deployment.  The law does not require that employees provide any advance notice of the need for leave. 

    The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also requires certain employers to provide eligible employees with leave to deal with the deployment of family members, among other military “exigencies.”  The definitions of covered employers, eligible employees and qualifying family members, however, differ under FMLA and Maryland law.  In addition, the Maryland law requires only a single day of leave for each deployment event, while employees eligible for exigency leave under FMLA may be entitled to as much as twelve weeks of leave for a variety of military service-related activities.  Accordingly, employers must separately assess their responsibilities under both statutes.   

    The new Maryland deployment leave law becomes effective October 1, 2013.