Louisiana Law Now Requires Employers to Provide Leave of Absences for Workers Who Need Medically Necessary Genetic Testing or Cancer Screenings

Butler Snow LLP

Butler Snow LLP

In the 2023 Regular Session, Louisiana lawmakers passed Act No. 210 (the Act), which provided protections for employees who are absent from work to obtain genetic testing or a medically necessary cancer screening. The Act has an effective date of August 1, 2023.

Louisiana law now provides that when “medically necessary . . . an employer shall grant an employee a day’s leave of absence from work to obtain genetic testing or preventive cancer.” La. R.S. 23:370(A). For an employee to avail himself of this provision, he must “provide the employer with at least fifteen days notice and make a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.” The employee must also furnish documentation confirming the performance of genetic testing or cancer screening if requested by the employer.

The Act also amended Louisiana law to provide a definition for “medically necessary” healthcare services. See La. R.S. 23:302(7). To be considered “medically necessary” the services shall be reasonably necessary “to diagnose, correct, cure, alleviate, or prevent the worsening of a condition or conditions that endanger life, cause suffering or pain, or have resulted or will result in a handicap, physical deformity, or malfunction, and those for which no equally effective and less costly course of treatment is available or suitable for the recipient.”

Additionally, Louisiana law now defines the term “preventive cancer screening as “healthcare services necessary or the detection of cancer in an individual, including but not limited to magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, or some combination of tests. La. R.S. 23:302(10).

Though an employer is not required to provide paid time off to an employee receiving these services, the employee may substitute accrued vacation time or other appropriate paid leave under the Act. See La. R.S. § 23:370(B). The Act provides that employers post a notice prepared by the Louisiana Workforce Commission outlining this provision for its employees.  La. R.S. 23:370(C).

Louisiana employers should become familiar with these new provisions and update their policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with this change in Louisiana law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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