Alaska Statutes Title 39. Public Officers and Employees § 39.20.500. Employment benefits and privileges for health and family care

(a) An employer shall grant an employee whose health is affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition the same employment benefits and privileges that the employer grants to other employees with similar ability to work who are not so affected, including allowing the employee to take disability or sick leave or other accrued leave that the employer makes available to temporarily disabled employees.

(b) An employee is eligible to take family leave if the employee has been employed by the employer for at least 35 hours a week for at least six consecutive months or for at least 17 1/2 hours a week for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the leave.  The leave may be unpaid leave.  However, the employee may choose to substitute, or the employer may require the employee to substitute, accrued paid leave to which the employee is entitled.  An employer shall permit an eligible employee to take family leave because of a serious health condition for a total of 18 workweeks during any 24-month period.  An employer shall permit an eligible employee to take family leave because of pregnancy and childbirth or adoption for a total of 18 workweeks within a 12-month period;  the right to take leave for this reason expires on the date one year after the birth or placement of the child.  If the employee is entitled to a longer period of time under (a) of this section, then the longer period applies.  An eligible employee is entitled to take family leave

(1) because of pregnancy and the birth of a child of the employee or the placement of a child, other than the employee's stepchild, with the employee for adoption;  an employer may require that an employee using family leave under this paragraph take the leave in a single block of time;

(2) in order to care for the employee's child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition;  in this paragraph, “child” includes the employee's biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, or legal ward;  and

(3) because of the employee's own serious health condition.

(c) Notwithstanding (b) of this section, if a parent or child of two employees employed by the same employer has a serious health condition, the employer is not required to grant family leave to both employees simultaneously.

(d) During the time that an employee is on leave under this section, the employer shall maintain coverage under any group health plan at the level and under the conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had been employed continuously from the date the leave began to the date the employee returns from leave under (e) of this section.  However, the employer may require that the employee pay all or part of the costs for maintaining health insurance coverage during a period of unpaid leave.

(e) Unless the employer's business circumstances have changed to make it impossible or unreasonable, when an employee returns from leave under this section, the employer shall restore the employee

(1) to the position of employment held by the employee when the leave began;  or

(2) to a substantially similar position with substantially similar benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

(f) This section does not apply to an employer's small employment facility if the total number of employees employed within 50 road miles of the small employment facility, including those employed at the facility, was fewer than 21 during the 20 consecutive workweeks in which the employer employed at least 21 employees at all business facilities.


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