On July 2, 2010, the Ohio Military Family Leave Act (OMFLA) went into effect. The OMFLA applies to both public and private employers with 50 or more employees. The OMFLA allows eligible employees to take up to 10 days or 80 hours (whichever is less) of unpaid leave when a family member who is a member of the uniformed services is called to active duty for a period longer than 30 days or is injured, wounded or hospitalized while serving on active duty
The OMFLA eligibility requirements are similar to eligibility requirements under FMLA, but not exactly the same. The OMFLA requires that the 12-month period of employment must be consecutive. Unlike FMLA, the OMFLA applies to all employers with 50 or more employees, without regard to how small or distant a particular location may be.
Under OMFLA, a family member is defined as a parent, spouse, child or other person over whom the employee has legal custody.
Unlike FMLA, OMFLA does not require that the active duty be in a foreign country. Unlike FMLA, OMFLA does not require that the member of the uniformed services have a “serious injury or illness”.
The OMFLA leave must be calculated on the basis of a calendar year.
An employee who needs leave under the OMFLA must notify his or her employer at least 14 days before taking the leave if the leave is being taken because a covered family member has been called to active duty in the uniformed services or at least two days prior to taking the leave if it is because of an injury, wound or hospitalization of a covered family member while on active duty. If the covered family member’s situation is critical or life threatening, the employee’s notice obligations are waived.
An employer may require certification from the appropriate military authority to verify the need for leave.
For OMFLA leave related to a call to active duty, eligible employees may take leave no more than two weeks prior to the deployment date or one week after the deployment date.
An employee may only take OMFLA leave if he or she is ineligible for FMLA or other leave (except sick leave or disability leave) or has already exhausted FMLA.
Employers must maintain benefits while an employee is on OMFLA, subject to payment of the same contributions an active employee would be required to make. Employees have the right to be restored to the same or equivalent position after OMFLA leave and have a right to be free from interference and protected from retaliation for exercising their rights. Employees cannot waive their rights under OMFLA. If a collective bargaining agreement with lesser rights is in effect, the OMFLA provisions will apply upon expiration of the agreement.