The Family Medical Leave Act is now a mainstay in the business world, allowing employees to take health-related leave from work without losing their position. It’s important for anyone who has 50 or more full time employees to be familiar with the basics of the law so that you understand how to handle medical issues with your staff and when you may want to consult an attorney.
FMLA gives employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year, during which time the employee’s job and benefits must be maintained. This leave may be used for serious health conditions that prevent the employee from performing their work either because they are in an in-patient care situation or receiving continuing medical treatment. Leave can also be used to provide care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition, childbirth, adoption, or placement of a foster child. For military-related leave of absence, which can go up to 26 weeks per year, FMLA can be used to care for an ill or injured spouse or child who is in the military.
Benefits, including health insurance, must be maintained during the FMLA period, although the cost can be passed on to the employee. When the leave is up, the employee must be allowed to return to the same or a similar job with the same pay and benefits as the position they left. One caveat is that employees on the top ten percent of the salary scale do not necessarily have to be reinstated if their departure would cause significant harm to the business. This last caveat would be one of those times where talking over the situation with a lawyer when it first becomes an issue can save a lot of problems down the road.
While some states have adopted measures similar to FMLA to cover individuals that don’t fall under the Federal FMLA, Minnesota is not one of those states. Instead, we have the Minnesota Parental Leave Act which applies to businesses with 21 or more employees as well as for parents having or adopting a child. This law gives employees the ability to take an unpaid leave of 6 weeks as well as allowing parents 16 hours of unpaid leave to attend school activities.
Minnesota also has laws that allow employees to use their personal sick time to take care of their sick children, take time during primary and general elections to vote, donate bone marrow or organs, and take other leave as allowed by their employee handbook. In addition, government employees who are members of the Minnesota National Guard or military reserves are allowed leave of up to 15 days per year for their military duties, are allowed a leave if injured during active service, and for their family members to attend ceremonies.
For any questions regarding the Family Medical Leave Act or related Minnesota laws, reach out to the team of attorneys at Virtus Law Firm. We can advise you when one of your key employees leaves and help you craft a handbook that sets good policies on leave for your entire staff. Give us a call at 612.888.1000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org today.