3/23/2017

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Family And Medical Leave

Individual states may offer more generous family and medical leave options than others.

You may be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave from your job, within a year, if it is due to a family crisis or a medical emergency. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 mandates that an employer, with 50 or more employees, must grant the leave, if it becomes necessary for an employee to take off.

As determined by the U.S. Department of Labor, the following reasons are valid:

  • For the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
  • For placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

State and federal laws regarding family and medical leave mandates that an employer must reinstate an employee if the employee takes an emergency leave. The employee is not paid for the time spent on family and medical leave.

There are also some important stipulations:

  • The employer must have 50 or more employees at the time you request the leave and those employees must work within a 75 mile radius of your current job site.
  • You must have been employed by the same employer for at least 1 year and must have worked at least 1,250 hours within that 12 month period.
  • You must give at least a 30 day advanced notice and if you have accumulated vacation time, you may be required to use it as part of the 12 weeks of family leave.
  • Note: You would get paid for your vacation time but not for the rest of the time take off.
  • Proof must be shown that you qualify for the leave. You may be required to show a medical certification from your physician. Your employer may ask for a second opinion from a different physician than your own.
  • While you are on family leave, your employer must keep your regular health care insurance and other benefits intact if he is providing them. If your portion of the costs are paid through employer deductions, you may have to pay that amount out of your pocket since your leave is unpaid. It is usually taken from your future wages by your employer after you return to work but you may pay it yourself while you are on leave.

Individual states may have what might be considered more generous laws concerning emergency family medical leave. If so, the federal mandate does not supersede state and local rules and regulations.

There are specific categories of employees who may not be protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act, namely employees whose salaries put them in the top 10 percent pay grade of the work force within a company.

If you need to take an emergency family or medical leave, talk with your company's human resources department or union representative. You may also contact the U.S. Department of Labor or your state's department of labor.

 

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