Are there any exceptions in regards to the FMLA?

New Wisconsin mothers who seek time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act may find that exceptions in the existing legislation provide their employers with various legal grounds to deny them benefits. Although this law ostensibly guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents of both genders, employers can potentially avoid their obligations in a number of ways.

For instance, when mothers haven’t worked at their current companies for more than 25 hours per week for 50 weeks, their employers can receive an FMLA exemption. This renders the mother in question ineligible for benefits. Companies that have fewer than 50 local employees may gain similar FLMA immunity. It’s also important to remember that even if an individual does get to take his or her FMLA-mandated leave, the employer does not have to count the time towards their work hours or add it to their vacation time.

One notable aspect of the FMLA coverage is that employers can’t drop their workers from their health insurance while they are on leave. Because companies aren’t obligated to pay their workers during this period, however, the employee may also have to foot the bill for their health insurance contributions. Other important loopholes include the fact that two parents who work together at the same firm have to split their 12-week leave period between each other.

Although the Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted to protect parents, employers retain ample leeway in how they choose to adhere to the legislation. Parents who aren’t doing anything wrong by claiming their benefits may experience backlash from their employers or find themselves on the wrong side of their corporate culture. To minimize conflict, some Wisconsin employees seek legal clarification on their FMLA rights before they exercise them.

Source: What to Expect, “Know Your Rights Under the FMLA“, November 03, 2014

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