With many new paid leave laws, job protection for reasons like vaccinations or school closings, the definition of new family members being added as qualified, etc., it all could make employers reconsider how they decide when to provide compensation for leaves that currently go unpaid. For example, some employers do not pay for jury duty leave, while others cover the difference between what the employee receives from the court system and what their regular salary would have been. Other employers pay for up to two weeks, 30 days, or even longer for qualified USERRA leaves. The point is not to advocate for or against pay for jury duty or USERRA absences, but to look at the bigger picture.

“Which leaves do we provide pay for? Which are unpaid? Why?”

If the only answers for these questions are, ‘we do it this way because that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ perhaps it’s time to assess paid and unpaid leave policies within your organization. You may be surprised at what you discover.

Reviewing paid vs. unpaid leaves: where to begin

To get the ball rolling, here is a list of typical leaves to consider:

  • Bereavement
  • Jury/Witness Duty
  • Voting
  • Bonding/Parental
  • Military
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Volunteer Civil Service
  • Victim, Witness, and Advocate
  • Domestic Violence
  • Bone Marrow/Organ Donation
  • Public Service
  • School Activity
  • Pregnancy Disability
  • Family Medical
  • Employee Medical
  • Adoptive/Foster Activities

What employers should do now

  • Identify how long it has been since your leave policies have been updated and if they are still in line with your company values.
  • Review current policies to assess when and how employee absences are handled. Are similarly situated employees being treated equally? Are there areas of overlap covered by newly identified laws? Are there unintended gaps?

What Guardian is doing

Guardian remains committed to staying on top of changes in laws, and market trends in absence management.

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Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Guardian does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic. GUARDIAN® is a registered service mark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® ©Copyright 2021 The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, N.Y. 

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