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Proposal would slash Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave benefits

Under a recent proposal in the Wisconsin State Assembly, some part-time workers would lose Family and Medical Leave benefits. The proposal would allow businesses to deny benefits to those who work between 19 and 24 hours per week.

A recent article on the Wisconsin Public Radio website says those workers would no longer be eligible to receive two weeks of paid leave to care for a sick child, spouse or parent. The Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act also ensures that employees can get two weeks of paid leave to care for their own serious health issues.

A single Milwaukee mother of two said she has used W-FMLA benefits to care for her son. She the proposal would make it more difficult to keep her job.

"Parents should never have to be put into a situation where they have to choose a job over their child's health or well-being," she said.

The bill's supporters claim that the measure would reduce expenses for Wisconsin businesses. They also claim that their goal is not to strip workers of family leave benefits. "That is not the goal — that maybe makes it easy for some folks to try to demonize the bill, but that’s not the goal here," said Chris Reader, director of health and human resources policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. The business group supports the proposal. Reader said the goal is to “bring consistency” to regulations.

Critics of the proposal include the National Association of Working Women, Wisconsin Public Health Association, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

If you have been denied W-FMLA benefits or federal FMLA benefits by your employer, speak to an attorney experienced in employment law litigation about your legal options.

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