Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 240
By: Lewis, Glenn
Economic Development


The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees unpaid leave for
childbirth or family illness.  Each year many workers who qualify for
family medical leave do not utilize the program. The federal program may
become more effective if a state counterpart is developed using the state's
unemployment insurance surplus to create a partial replacement for wages,
potentially making the federal program more financially appealing and

Under current law, persons who voluntarily leave work for family leave are
eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, but eligibility ends upon
the birth of a child and does not address adoption. House Bill 240 extends
eligibility for unemployment benefits to persons who voluntarily leave the
workforce to care for a child in the first year following the child's birth
or adoption. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Workforce Commission in
SECTIONS 1 (Section 207.026, Labor Code) and SECTION 4 of this bill. 


House Bill 240 amends the Labor Code to prohibit the denial of or
disqualification from unemployment benefits for an individual solely
because the individual is on leave from or left the individual's last
employment to care for a child born to or adopted by the individual if the
individual took leave or left within the first year after the date of the
child's birth or placement with the individual for adoption.  The
individual is not required to comply with benefits provisions relating to
the individual's availability for work, active search for work, or refusal
to apply for or accept suitable work.  The bill requires the benefit amount
an eligible  individual may receive to be reduced by any amount paid to the
individual by an employer because of the birth or adoption of the child and
by any amount paid to the individual under a disability insurance plan
contributed to by an employer, in proportion to the employer's contribution
to the plan.  An employer is required to post notices at conspicuous
places, as prescribed by Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) rule, regarding
the availability of these benefits.  
If the individual's last separation from an employer's employment before
the last benefit year occurred under the above provisions, benefits
computed on benefit wage credits of an employee or former employee may not
be charged to the account of that employee.  
TWC is required to adopt rules necessary to implement these provisions no
later than November 1, 2001. 


September 1, 2001, and applies beginning December 1, 2001.