No matter how much an employee enjoys a position or how well he or she is compensated for work performed, almost everyone experiences extenuating circumstances at some point or another that may call for time off from work.
Examples of such circumstances include sicknesses, deaths in the family, maternity leave or calls for jury duty. It is important that today’s employers understand what is required of them in terms of granting employees’ requests for time off and whether the time off must be paid or unpaid. Employers who fail to adhere to the regulations surrounding time off from work run the risk of becoming the subjects of employee lawsuits.
Family and Medical Leave GuidelinesEmployees who require time off from work for particular medical or family-related reasons are protected in doing so at the federal level by what is known as the Family and Medical Leave Act. Generally speaking, the rules of the FMLA apply to government agencies, private companies that handle interstate commerce and businesses with 50 or more workers for 20 or more weeks during the last calendar year. In order to be eligible, employees must have worked for the company for a full year prior to requesting time off, and they must also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the aforementioned 12-month period. Furthermore, their employer must employ at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius, and the place of business must fall within the United States or a territory of the United States. In the event that the employee and employer meet this criteria, FMLA guidelines state the employee can take time off for the birth of a child (or an adoption), to care for a member of his or her immediate family who has a serious health issue, or to deal with his or her own serious medical condition.
Maternity Leave GuidelinesEmployees who meet the aforementioned criteria are also protected at the federal level for taking maternity leave, which may refer to time taken off before or after the birth or adoption of a child. FMLA guidelines dictate that covered employees may take as many as 12 weeks of maternity leave time within a 12-month period. Employers are not, however, required by law to compensate employees who take maternity leave during this time. Often, employees use vacation time or paid time off they’ve built up to help offset the financial loss that may come with taking maternity leave. Some workers who take maternity leave pursue short-term disability benefits through their employers or through private or state-sponsored programs as another method of minimizing financial losses.
Paid Time Off and Sick Time GuidelinesWhile FMLA guidelines protect covered employees who need to take time off from work for certain reasons, employers in most states are not required to offer the employee compensation during his or her time off. A handful of states do, however, offer paid time off or partially paid time off for certain medical or family reasons, among them California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Jury Duty GuidelinesWhen it comes to requesting time off for jury duty, employers are frequently reluctant to grant it, particularly given the chance that the employee may need to be away from the job for a week, a month or even longer. Because so many employers prefer not to give employees time off (paid or unpaid) for jury duty, many states have their own laws dictating that employers may not discourage their workers from performing their civic responsibilities by serving jury duty. Some state laws also dictate whether the employee must furnish proof of his or her jury appointment, and it’s also important to note that some states set separate standards for nighttime employees, who may have additional protections in place to ensure they aren’t working all night and sitting on a jury the next day. In most states, time taken off for jury duty is unpaid, but this is not always the case. Again, it is critical that employers familiarize themselves with the most current rules in place for their specific states to ensure they don’t inadvertently break them. The rules regarding time off from work are complex and may vary broadly from one state to the next. It is essential that today’s employers understand the provisions set forth by the FMLA, federal rules regarding time off from work and any state-specific rules and regulations to which they also must adhere. Seeking advice from a legal expert who is well versed in such state laws and regulations can be a good idea.
Everything You Need to Know About Offering Vacation and Sick LeaveTrying to straighten out the vacation and sick leave policies? Take a look at everything you need to know about required employee time-off benefits.
FMLA FAQ: What Is It?The FMLA guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to certain workers if they meet certain requirements. Learn when your employees qualify.
FMLA Application, Rules and Termination GuidelinesThe Family and Medical Leave Act protects employees, but there are times where it does not apply, so learn about what employers’ rights are under the law.
States Lacking Additional Laws About Family and Medical LeaveNumerous states lack laws regarding family and medical leave, which means employers in those states need to obey the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Understanding the Family and Medical Leave ActHow are employees and employers impacted by the Family and Medical Leave Act? Read the article below to learn about the act and its impact on the workplace.
Are You Fit to Return to Work After an FMLA Absence?A Fitness-for-Duty certification allows employers to assess whether or not an employee is fit to return to work after taking an FMLA-covered leave of absence.
The Scoop on Reasons That Qualify for FMLA LeaveEmployees generally qualify for FMLA leave when they welcome a child and when they need to address serious health problems, either their own or a relative’s.
A Look at Paid Family and Sick Leave LawsThe federal FMLA offers unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks, but a few states such as California, New Jersey and Washington have paid family and sick leave laws.
Maternity and Parental Leave FAQNeed to know the law concerning pregnant employees? Use these frequently asked questions to understand federal policies regarding maternity leave.
Understanding Employer Notice Requirements Under the FMLADid you know that employers are required to provide several notices under FMLA? Check out the four types of documents companies must make available to workers.
Employee’s Guide to FMLA Leave Notice RequirementsLearn what is required of employees before they can take a FMLA leave of absence. It is important to know your eligibility of taking unpaid vacation time.
Go in Depth for the FMLA Leave Laws and RegulationsWhether you are an employer or employee, you need to know what your FMLA allotted rights are. Learn all about the required federal unpaid vacation laws.
Running a Small Business? It’s Important to Understand the Ins and Outs of FMLA EligibilityAre you a business owner with over 50 employees? If so, you need to understand how the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) works and eligibility requirements.
Certification of a Serious Health Condition Under the FMLAEmployers may require certifications from health care providers to verify a worker’s requirement for FMLA leave and recertification every 30 days of absence.
Utilizing Federal and State Family and Medical Leave LawsDid you know that employee leave is governed by two sets of laws? Check out the differences between federal and state laws and when to apply each one.
Overtime, Compensation, Bonuses and FMLA Law Frequently Asked QuestionsDo you have questions about the relationship between FMLA law and compensation or overtime? Use these answers to frequently asked questions to clarify policy overlaps.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family and Medical LeaveQuestions about the Family and Medical Leave Act? The following answers some of the most frequently asked questions about this law.
Voting and Jury Duty: Offering Time Off WorkIs an employee asking you for time off work to vote or go to jury summons? Check with state and local laws to see what is required of you.
Family and Medical Leave Act Compliance Requires DiligenceThere are dozens of moving parts to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Here are some of the main facets of the act and the rules for legal compliance.
Writing the Employee Handbook: Jury Duty and Voting LeaveWriting company policy regarding time off for jury duty or voting? Consult state law and know the requirements before publishing an employee handbook.
Jury Duty: Do You Have to Pay Your Employees?Wondering what to do when employees tell you they are serving on a jury? Check the laws in your state to see what absolutely has to be done.
Tips and Communication Strategies for a Smooth Return to WorkHave an employee returning to work after a leave of absence? Plan for the transition by having several conversations prior to the person coming back.
Understanding the Employment Protections Provided to Military PersonnelIt is important to get to know the various regulations and military leave laws giving members of the military certain protections that employers must follow.
Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Leave PoliciesCovered organizations are obligated to award employees job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and workers’ compensation laws.
Small Business Owner? Make Sure You Understand the Facts About Family and Medical LeaveThe FMLA helps employees balance medical needs with workplace demands. Small business owners need to understand which employees are entitled to the leave.
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