People in Wisconsin might be interested to learn of the recent Department of Labor announcement that same-sex married couples will now enjoy the same protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act as do heterosexual couples. With the update in guidelines, same-sex couples will now be able to take leave to care for a sick spouse, including those living in states that do not recognize the institution.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is the first and only federal law that addresses the balance between jobs and family that workers in Wisconsin and across the U.S. must maintain. The 12 weeks of unpaid leave guaranteed by the act has been used more than 200 million times since being passed. Reasons for taking leave vary, including recovering from a serious illness, caring for a loved one who is ill or receiving maternity or paternity leave.
Wisconsin employees may be interested in information about how the federal and state laws governing medical and family leave differ. Depending on the strength of each law in a particular area, different provisions could apply. Any time a Wisconsin state family and medical leave law provides greater protection than the federal law, an employer in Wisconsin must abide by the stronger state law. Employers who are covered by both state and federal lawmust continually comply with both. The requirement for employer coverage under Wisconsin law is that there must be at least 50 permanent employees over at least 6 months during the past year. The federal requirement is the same regarding the number of employees, but it must be for at least 20 weeks over the previous or current year.
Wisconsin workers who are covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 may be eligible for leave under certain circumstances. For example, if certain requirements are met, a worker may be able to seek a reduced schedule or intermittent leave without fear of retaliation if the worker or the workers family suffers from certain medical conditions.
Under the Family Medical Leave Act, qualified employees in Wisconsin may take unpaid leave in certain situations. Employers are not allowed to take any action that may abridge, deny or otherwise make it not possible for an employee to take leave if they are eligible to do so. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to take any type of retaliatory action against any employee who exercises his or her rights under the act.
In Wisconsin, it is illegal to fire or withhold benefits from an employee due to a pregnancy. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act also forbids an employer from discriminating against a pregnant employee in regards to pay, job assignments or training opportunities. If an employee is unable to perform job duties temporarily due to a pregnancy, the employer is obligated to treat that employee like any other temporarily disabled employee.
Employees in Wisconsin who wish to take leave from their jobs might be able to get paid time off through the Family and Medical Leave Act. Not all types of leave are covered nor do they all result in paid leave. Also, employers are not always required to inform their workers if they qualify for medical leave or family leave. Employees who understand the process of and how to provide their employer with notice might be more likely to get the leave they want.
The Family and Medical Leave Act enables workers who are dealing with health issues to leave work as necessary. This act may also apply to workers who need to leave work to deal with health issues of family members. Both the federal government and the state of Wisconsin have their own versions of the FMLA. While many provisions are the same in both cases, the state version differs from the federal version in some respects.
Many times employers will believe they have the upper hand in the workplace over their subordinate employees, which could lead to abuse or wrongdoing. This is why there are employment laws designed to protect employee rights in the workplace in Wisconsin and other states. One of the most important laws is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
One very important right of workers here in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. is the right to voice workplace safety concerns without the fear of retaliation. Employees need to be able to express their concerns about workplace hazards and safety threats so that the employer, or authorities, can be aware of any issues that may endanger workers or patrons.