Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees of some companies are entitled to unpaid leave following the birth of a child, or for medical or family emergencies. (It is a bit more complicated, but that is the basic idea.) Most private companies with fewer than 50 employees, however, are not subject to the FMLA. And while federal law regulates other aspect of employment, among them overtime, minimum wages or equal rights, leaves are not subject to any other federal imposition.
The legal waters thus flow differently from state to state, as each of the fifty sovereigns that compose our nation are free to set their own policies regarding employers’ obligations to provide, or not to provide, leaves for their employees.
In Florida, there is no law on the topic. Small Florida businesses are therefore free to set their policies as they wish. It is the competition in the employment marketplace that will spur employers to offer leaves, paid or unpaid, as an additional benefit or incentive to their employees. Florida law, in and of itself, does not mandate that the State’s employers provide any kind of leave, paid or unpaid, whether it be sick leave, vacation leave, pregnancy leave, family leave or any other kind.