Louisiana’s Time Off Mandate for Genetic Testing and Cancer Screening

Louisiana is emphasizing the importance of genetic testing and cancer screening by passing a new law, now in effect, that helps ensure employees have time off for medical testing and screenings. Here’s an overview of the law and its implications for the workforce:

  1. Louisiana now requires employers to grant a one-day leave for employees needing medically necessary genetic testing or cancer screening.
  1. The term “medically necessary” refers to healthcare services conforming to widely accepted evidence-based medical standards or “that are considered by most physicians or independent licensed practitioners within the community of their respective professional organizations to be the standard of care.” 
  1. In order for a service to be “medically necessary,” it must be imperative to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious conditions and for which no cheaper yet equally effective treatment is available. Note that experimental services not recognized by the Federal Drug Administration or those that are purely cosmetic do not qualify under this definition.
  1. The scope of “Protected genetic information” encompasses information about an individual’s genetic tests, their family members’ genetic tests, or occurrences of diseases or medical conditions within the family.
  1. Employees must inform their employer at least 15 days before the leave and try to ensure their absence doesn’t disrupt business operations. While employees need to confirm they underwent the test/screening, they aren’t obligated, nor should they be compelled, to reveal the results.
  1. The law doesn’t require employers to pay for this time off. However, employees can opt to use their accrued paid leaves. It remains unspecified whether employers can enforce the usage of paid leave for this purpose.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission will be releasing a notice delineating the act’s requirements, which employees much exhibit.