Montana Leave Laws

April 25th 2024

Leave laws in Montana are in place to protect employees’ health and well-being. This article explores the state and federal regulations surrounding leave in Montana, including the different types of leave options available to employees. 

There are two main types of leave: required and non-required. Each type comes with its own specific rules and requirements, which may vary depending on whether you work in the public or private sector. 

This Article Covers

Montana Required Leave
Montana Non-Required Leave

Montana Required Leave

In Montana, employers must give their employees various types of leave as required by law. The mandatory leave types are:

1. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: To be eligible, employees must have been with the same employer for at least a year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in that time, as per the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Significant life events, such as giving birth or caring for a newborn, adopting or fostering a child, having a health condition that prevents the employee from working, and caring for a family member with a serious health issue.
  • Pay: Employers in Montana are not required to offer paid family and medical leave.

2. Sick Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: Only public employees are entitled to sick leave, provided they have worked at the company for 90 days. 
  • Duration: Up to 12 days per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To attend to their health or recover from illness. 
  • Pay: Public employers are legally required to grant paid sick leave to eligible employees.

3. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: Any employee who must attend jury duty may take time off, although they may need to show their jury summons as proof. However, an employee may be denied leave if their work is deemed necessary for the operation of a state or government agency.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To attend jury duty. 
  • Pay: Employers do not have to pay workers on jury duty leave.

 4. Emergency Response Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: Public employees in the executive branch may take emergency response leave under certain circumstances. Montana State Fund employees, university employees, elected officials, and personally appointed staff members are not entitled to this type of leave. 
  • Duration: 15 days in a calendar year
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To participate in American Red Cross disaster relief services. 
  • Pay: Public employers must pay workers who are participating in American Red Cross disaster relief services.

5. Military Leave

6. Leave for Crime Victims

  • Eligibility: Employees who have been victims of criminal acts and family members of victims are entitled to leave. 
  • Duration: Depends on the individual case. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To participate in related legal proceedings.

7. Vacation Leave (Public Employers)

  • Eligibility: Full-time state workers are eligible for vacation leave. 
  • Duration: Permanent full-time employees earn annual vacation leave credits from the first day of employment. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Employees can take time off for vacation purposes.
  • Pay: Public employees become eligible for paid vacation after working at a company for 6 months.

Montana Non-Required Leave

In Montana, some employers choose to offer optional types of leave, even though they are not required by law. These non-mandatory types of leave include:

1. Bereavement Leave

Employers in Montana are not obligated to offer bereavement leave to employees. However, public sector employees may use their sick leave if they need to take time off work to attend a funeral for a close family member.

2. Holiday Leave

Employers are not required by law to grant their employees holiday leave unless it is explicitly stated in the employment contract. 

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

To learn more about the rights of employees in Montana, read our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in Montana, and Your rights as an hourly employee in Montana. You can also learn more about Montana Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

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