What are the requirements for the FMLA?

Employers in Wisconsin with 50 or more employees are required by state and federal law to grant their employees medical leave in certain situations. The Family and Medical Leave Act was passed by Congress in 1993, and the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act added to and amended certain provisions of the federal law.

Under the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act, workers are entitled to six weeks of leave when a child is born or adopted and two weeks of leave for the care of the child. Workers may also take two weeks of leave when they are seriously ill or to care for a seriously ill spouse, domestic partner, parent or parent of a domestic partner. However, the Wisconsin law caps the amount of leave taken by a worker annually at eight weeks while the federal law provides for up to 12 weeks of leave.

Wisconsin workers become eligible for leave under the act after they have worked for 52 consecutive weeks and 1,000 hours. The federal law requires 12 months of work and 1,250 hours to qualify, but it need not have been performed consecutively. While Wisconsin allows paid leave to contribute to its 1,000-hour requirement, federal law only considers actual hours worked. Workers who feel that their employers have violated the law are given 30 days to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division.

Some workers who have been denied leave guaranteed by federal and state law fear retaliation if they file a complaint, and others are concerned that their jobs could be jeopardized or their health insurance placed at risk if they request leave. An attorney familiar with the FMLA could advocate on behalf of workers in situations such as these, and they may be able to discourage employers from taking retaliatory or punitive actions.

Source: The State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, “Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act”

Source: The United States Department of Labor, “Federal vs. Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Laws”

Source: Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity, “Family & Medical Leave“, November 14, 2014

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