Financially preparing for unpaid leave is wise in Wisconsin

When people think about planning for emergencies in Wisconsin, the types of emergencies that often come to mind include falling ill or getting into a car wreck. However, sometimes an emergency happens to a loved one instead of to oneself, and a person ends up having to leave work for a while to take care of that family member. It’s wise to financially plan for any unexpected periods of unpaid leave, which can stretch as long as 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Taking leave is not necessarily limited to illnesses and injuries, but it is also appropriate for taking care of babies or even for sabbaticals. People, however, can usually plan more easily for a sabbatical or a baby than they can for unexpected illnesses. It’s helpful to create an account dedicated only to a possible future unpaid leave period. A person can also trim his or her budget during the leave period to make sure that these funds last as long as possible.

Some companies do offer paid leave as well. In fact, about 21 percent did, according to a 2013 human resource survey. Furthermore, more than a quarter of companies offered longer family leave periods than what the FMLA required. In some cases, a person may be able to qualify for disability or even use vacation or sick pay during the leave period to mitigate his or her financial concerns.

It’s worth noting that one can keep his or her health coverage during a period of unpaid leave. Under FMLA, a person may also return to the same job he or she had prior to taking a leave. If a person’s right to obtain FMLA benefits are violated at a company of 50-plus workers or at a public agency in Wisconsin, he or she can file a claim to seek justice.

Source: The Tennessean, “Plan financially for taking extended leave from job“, Sarah Skidmore, May 16, 2014


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