Wisconsin employees and the Family and Medical Leave Act

Many employers violate the Family Medical Leave Act. No employee should fear for their job after going on extended leave. The Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act mandates that covered employers offer as many as eight weeks of unpaid leave without jeopardizing the job status of eligible employees for various family and individual medical situations. Recently, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has planned to propose new legislation that will amend the FMLA to ensure that employees ‘ family and medical leave rights are better preserved.

According to the senator, the current system is not protecting all employees. There are several exemptions that exclude employees under various circumstances. Reportedly, almost half of all workers cannot qualify for FMLA benefits simply due to the fact that there are less than 50 employees at their place of business. The law only covers employees of businesses or organizations that have at least 50 employees or more.

Additionally, the current legislation does not extend to Wisconsin employees that have worked less than 1000 hours. Many people cannot take the leave simply because they cannot afford to lose the income during their absence. Senator Gillabrand proposes new legislation that introduces an independent fund to collect and provide benefits via the Social Security Administration. The legislation would enforce a 0.2 percent payout from employees and employers paychecks to earn better FMLA benefits. The Senator’s plan would cover all workers in the nation and not allow for exclusions.

Family and medical situations covered in Wisconsin include pregnancy and care for a newborn, placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, and the employee’s own serious health condition. Whether or not the new legislation proposal gains popularity, employees have the right to take leave for specific medical and family circumstances. The Family and Medical Leave Act must be lawfully enforced and employers cannot put unfair roadblocks in the way of their employees. In the event that they prevent covered employees from taking rightful leave, workers may be able to take legal action.

Source: inthesetimes.com, Strong Enough for a Man, Effective Enough For A Woman, Sarah Jaffe, Oct. 7, 2013


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