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New Ohio Military Leave and FMLA Military Leave

We have posted an alert regarding Ohio's new military leave law, which takes effect on July 2, 2010. An initial question that the new law raises is how it compares to and interacts with the FMLA’s provisions for military leave. At present, the answer is not clear but there are a couple of points worth noting:

The Ohio law’s definition is arguably broader than the FMLA. Both require a minimum of 50 employees but the Ohio law does not have the FMLA’s 75 mile radius restriction.

To be eligible for leave under the Ohio law, an employee may not have any other leave available except sick leave or disability leave. Thus, the Ohio law supplements the FMLA, and employees who have no available FMLA leave may be able to utilize the Ohio leave if they meet the other criteria.

The Ohio law prohibits retaliation for an employee’s actual or potential exercise of leave rights or support for another employee’s exercise of leave rights. Although the meaning of this provision is subject to interpretation, it is arguably broader than FMLA protections.

We will provide updates as the interaction between the FMLA and Ohio law develops.

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