Does Wisconsin law differ from federal Family Medical Leave Act?

Workers in Wisconsin should be aware they are protected by both state and federal laws pertaining to medical leave. There are, however, differences between the two statutes when it comes to eligibility and the amount of leave that may be taken.

Employers, unlike their employees, cannot pick and choose which of the two laws with which to comply. Employees, on the other hand, are not bound by the same restriction. Workers have the option of taking advantage of the benefits of either law that are the most favorable to them.

Both the federal Family Medical Leave Act and state law apply to all employers with at least 50 employees. They differ in that federal law applies if the employer reaches the 50 employee mark for at least 20 weeks during either the current year or the preceding year. Wisconsin looks only at the current year and imposes compliance on employers that have 50 employees for at least six months.

Medical leave eligibility under FMLA begins when a worker has logged at least 1,250 hours within a one-year period. Wisconsin workers must have been employed for at least one year and work at least 1,000 hours in the 52-week period immediately preceding the request for maternity leave or family leave.

The amount of family leave a person may take under federal law is 12 weeks in any 12-month period, but Wisconsin varies the duration of its leave. State law allows workers to take six weeks of maternity leave, two weeks of medical leave when specific family members are seriously ill and two weeks of medical leave when it relates to the worker’s health issues.

A discussion of all of the factors that go into deciding which family leave options are best for you is beyond the scope of this posting. The information offered is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice that should only be obtained from a Wisconsin employment law attorney.


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