What You Need to Know About Georgia’s Parental Leave Laws
The U.S. is one of the few countries that does not offer paid parental leave. You may wonder if you are eligible for parental leave in your state. Here is everything you need to know about Georgia’s parental leave laws.
Georgia law requires employers to provide up to three weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) for state and local board of education employees. Eligible employees may take up to 120 hours of PPL each year. FMLA regulations apply to Georgia, which requires employers to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specified family or medical reasons.
What is Parental Leave?
Parental leave is an employee benefit where new parents are allowed time off work to care for their baby. Parental leave can be paid or unpaid, depending on the employer and state laws.
Georgia Parental Leave Laws
Since July 1, 2021, House Bill 146 allows up to three weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) for eligible state and local board of education employees. All eligible employees are allowed paid parental leave for qualifying life events after six continuous months of employment, regardless of whether the employee is eligible for paid or unpaid leave under federal law.
“Qualifying life events” means:
- The birth of a child;
- The placement of a minor child for adoption; or
- The placement of a minor child for foster care.
Conditions of Georgia’s Paid Parental Leave
The maximum amount of paid parental leave an eligible employee may take during any rolling 365-day period is 120 hours. An employee may only take 120 hours, regardless of the number of qualifying life events that occur within 365 days.
Employees may use the leave continuously or intermittently. Any remaining leave after the 365-day period shall not carry over for future use. Unused parental leave has no cash value at the time of the employee’s separation from employment.
An eligible employee who works hourly may receive paid parental leave if they have worked a minimum of 700 hours over the six months preceding the requested leave date.
Georgia law prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an eligible employee for lawfully exercising their right to paid parental leave. However, employees who submit false or fraudulent documents or information to obtain paid parental leave may face adverse employment actions.
Within a 12-month period, an eligible employee is limited to 120 hours of paid parental leave even if they transfer to another employer within the state.
FMLA Rights in Georgia
FMLA stands for “Family and Medical Leave Act,” which provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for certain family and medical reasons. Since FMLA is a federal law, employers in Georgia must abide by the FMLA regulations.
Employees are eligible for leave if they meet all of the following requirements:
- Have worked for their employer for at least 12 months,
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months,
- Work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
Employers in Georgia must provide an eligible employee with unpaid leave for the following reasons:
- The birth and care of a newborn child;
- Placement of a child for adoption or foster care;
- To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition; or
- To take medical leave when the employee cannot work because of a serious health condition.
If an employee is eligible for paid parental leave and FMLA, the PPL may run concurrently with FMLA leave.