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FAMILY LEAVE LAW: MANY EMPLOYERS WON'T BE READY

 SAN FRANCISCO, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Ready or not, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is effective for most employers on Aug. 5, 1993. And according to Janice Stanger, a consultant in the San Francisco office of William M. Mercer Inc. -- many California employers won't be ready. "Many employers haven't come to terms with the huge administrative requirements for compliance," says Stanger. "This is not something you can prepare for effectively at the last minute."
 Important considerations:
 -- Most California employers will be subject to two laws: state and federal. Where there are differences, employers must give employees the more generous of the two provisions. California Assemblywoman Gwen Moore has introduced AB 1460, that would eliminate some differences between state and federal law.
 -- The definition of serious health conditions that trigger leave entitlement is so broad that employers may find themselves required to grant numerous short-term leaves for the same individuals. Employers may find this disruptive.
 -- Employers must maintain health care coverage for the employee during leave, with no change in coverage levels or conditions. Because employees are required to continue payment of their portion of premiums while on leave, employers will have to create premium collection and record-keeping systems. This may require negotiation with insurance carriers.
 -- Employers will need to establish comprehensive systems and procedures to track required data, including payroll, leave taken, written notices and records of disputes.
 -- In addition to other notice requirements, once the employee requests leave, the employer is responsible for informing the employee regarding: the fact that leave will be counted as FMLA leave; any medical certification requirements; any health premium payment requirements; and the employee's right to job restoration.
 -- In addition to filing a complaint with the Department of Labor, an employee may sue the employer under the FMLA and recover: 1) lost salary, benefits and other compensation, plus interest; or 2) actual monetary losses which directly result from the violation (e.g. the cost of providing care up to 12 weeks), plus interest.
 -0- 7/8/93
 /CONTACT: Janice Stanger of William M. Mercer Inc., 415-393-5211/


CO: William M. Mercer Inc. ST: California IN: SU:

GT-EH -- SF004 -- 9463 07/08/93 11:30 EDT
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Date:Jul 8, 1993
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