Agency weighs expansion of Ohio workers' maternity leave

August 12, 2007|By New York Times News Service

CINCINNATI -- The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is pushing for a broad expansion of benefits for pregnant workers.

If its proposals are adopted, Ohio would join 18 states that require employers to offer maternity leaves that exceed those mandated by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. That law offers workers at businesses with 50 or more employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Expectant mothers must have worked for a business for a year, or 1,250 hours, to be eligible. The Ohio commission has proposed that businesses with four or more employees offer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave to pregnant employees, regardless of how long they have worked.

Workers not eligible under the federal law would need a doctor's orders to qualify.

The commission is revising its proposal after business groups said the rules would hurt small businesses and the state's economy. The revisions are expected to go to a state Senate and House committee, which could approve the rules without further action, next month.

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