When a person is expecting a baby, he or she naturally makes many preparations. The nursery has to be set up and decorated, the bottles must be purchased and the baby’s car seat must be installed. Still, one important preparation must be considered: to secure one’s employment situation during the period when one will be at home caring for and bonding with the new bundle of joy. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is designed to make sure that a woman’s job is protected in this case in Wisconsin.
Although the Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, there are several people who do not meet the strict eligibility standards. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave in Wisconsin, an employee must work for a covered employer for a total of twelve months, although not necessarily consecutively, and for at least 1,250 hours within the previous 12 months. Also, the employee must work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles of his or her worksite. FMLA does not necessarily apply to everyone and those who are protected are often faced with the prospect of using unpaid leave for the duration of the time away from the job.
When family or medical needs require a Wisconsin resident to take time off work, there are state and federal laws that come into play. Under the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act, private and public employers who have at least 50 employees must provide unpaid, job-protected medical or family leaves to workers who have put in at least 1,000 hours in the previous 52 weeks. Under the Wisconsin FMLA, workers can take up to six weeks of leave annually for the birth or adoption of a child, and two weeks for serious health conditions.
Most people in Wisconsin are probably unaware that yesterday marked a very important anniversary in employment law history. On Feb. 5, 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act was enacted to strengthen families and employment rights by allowing workers to take job-protected leaves to give birth or adopt a child, or deal with a serious illness or that of a family member. As some people may recall, prior to the FMLA, people often lost their jobs when these family events occurred.
Expecting fathers here in Wisconsin may want to think about moving abroad. This week, Finland enacted a new law that allows new fathers to take 54 days of paid leave following the birth of a child. Of course, Finland is not the only place to find mandatory paid paternity leave; there are countries all over the world where this is the norm. For example, in Sweden fathers receive 480 days of paid paternity leave. Of course, that is nowhere near the case here in the U.S. where many argue that our family leave laws are actually biased against fathers.
Ask any Milwaukee family and they will tell you having a child is not an easy endeavor. Cravings to childbirth are just the beginning. After bringing the little bundle of joy home families face numerous challenges both in and outside the home.
A recent spat between a female Fox News anchor who had just returned from maternity and a talk show host has revealed that some people are not familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act and the benefits applicable employees are entitled to under the Act.
A new study demonstrates the longer new mothers stay home with their newborns, the more likely the mothers will breast-feed their babies. The researchers who conducted the study found that new mothers who were at home for three months or longer were twice as likely to breast-feed their newborns beyond the three month mark.
Over the last two posts we have discussed taking time under the Family Medical Leave Act for maternity leave and how to approach and inform your employer of your leave when the time comes. In this post we will finish up that conversation. Last time, we left off on the use of vacation or sick days to expand your unpaid leave time.
Last time, we partly discussed how to inform your boss about your maternity leave time under the Family Medical Leave Act. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time for maternity leave and the law also guarantees the return of your position or a similar position after the completion of your leave. In this post, we will continue to talk about how to inform your employer of your maternity leave.