Wisconsin lawmakers have before them a proposal to enable workers to take time away from their jobs for illness or emergency. The Wisconsin Family Leave Insurance bill would make it possible for employees to receive pay for up to 12 weeks for medical reasons or family emergencies.
Most employers in Wisconsin and around the country with a staff of 50 or more are required to display a poster in the workplace that informs workers of their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Department of Labor updated this poster on April 16, 2016. While DOL rules allow employers to keep their current FMLA posters in place, the federal agency does require company policies to be updated to reflect the latest changes. The DOL also provides employers with a comprehensive guide to help them ensure that they are in compliance with the 1993 law.
Though employees in Wisconsin can take family leave after a childbirth or adoption, the leave is usually unpaid. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, full-time employees of employers subject to the federal law can take 12 weeks of unpaid time off per year for medical or family reasons. Now, some states are enacting their own family leave laws that allow employees to receive compensation for some of the wages they miss out on during a period of family leave.
Many employees in Wisconsin have their jobs protected by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act when needing to take time off work for certain reasons. One company and its employee are going to court because of a possible FMLA violation after the worker was fired when leaving because of a sudden illness.
One of the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers in Wisconsin and around the country to give their workers certain notifications, and they may face litigation when they are unable to establish that these required notices were received. One such case involved a supervisor at a Mississippi energy company who took medical leave to care for his ailing father in 2012.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act has nuances that both Wisconsin employees and their supervisors need to understand in order to ensure the program works smoothly. A company's human resources department generally approves an employee's request for leave, but supervisors need to be aware of the act's regulations, too.
As many Wisconsin families have both parents working to make ends meet, the need for one of them to take time off to care for a sick child could have an adverse employment effect. In other cases, a single-parent household could be headed by either a mother or a father, and that party might need to make use of FMLA rights at times based on a child's medical needs. However, the increasing need for fathers to use this type of leave does not always equate to a cooperative response from an employer. Just over one-fourth of FMLA cases filed for problems related to child care are filed by men.
Although most Wisconsin employees and supervisors understand that making fun of another employee's disability is never acceptable in the workplace, it can still occasionally happen. Supervisors especially should remember that it is their responsibility to stop any harassment against employees as soon as possible. Additionally, they are required to take steps that will prevent the harassment in the future.
Some women in Wisconsin face workplace discrimination after they become pregnant. A pending case in New York demonstrates that pregnancy discrimination is a pervasive problem at workplaces around the country.
The U.S. Department of Labor has produced a new poster on the Family and Medical Leave Act for covered employers in Wisconsin and around the country to post in the workplace. Those employers are not required to use the new poster if they have an older one containing the same information on display, but they might want to because the information is presented in a way that is easier to read and understand.