Trying to balance work and family life can be a challenge for anyone, but when an employee’s family member is sick or there is a birth in the family, it can be even more daunting. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was created to mitigate some of the stresses that come with certain life circumstances. There are caveats to the FMLA, however. For example, in the private sector, the FMLA only applies to employers who have 50 or more employees. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours for that employee to be covered by the FMLA. Only specific scenarios are covered by the FMLA, and as an employer, it is important you are aware of these situations.
Birth of a Child
When an employee has a child, he or she is eligible to take leave to bond with and care for that child, no matter if the worker is the mother or the father. However, the employee must take his or her leave within 12 months after the child is born. This type of leave must be taken as a block of time (consecutive days or months) unless you as the employer agree to intermittent leave.
Placement of a Child for Adoption or Foster Care
An employee who takes leave to care for or bond with an adopted or foster child may do so before the placement occurs if the leave is necessary for the placement to proceed. This can include the employee attending counseling sessions, appearing in court, traveling to another country to complete an adoption, or consulting with his or her attorney. This type of leave also expires 12 months after the placement of the child.
An Employee’s Serious Health Condition
Employees are also permitted to take leave for personal health issues. A serious health condition is one that prevents the employee from performing the daily functions of his or her position, which can include the employee being unable to work at all or unable to perform any one of his or her essential duties.
Taking Care of an Employee’s Spouse, Child, or Parent
Employees are also permitted to take leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. This leave can include the employee directly caring for a family member’s medical needs or safety, to provide psychological comfort and reassurance, or to transport the family member to and from the doctor on a regular basis. An example of this can be a loved one who has cancer and needs chemotherapy every week.
Exigency Leave for a Family Member Who Is On Active Duty in the Military
Employees who have a spouse, child, or parent who is active duty in the military and is being deployed to a foreign country are permitted to take leave for any qualifying reason. These reasons can include making childcare arrangements for the child of the military member, attending military ceremonies and/or briefings, or spending time with the military relative while he or she is on Rest and Recuperation leave during deployment. It can also be for making financial or legal arrangements during a military member’s absence or taking care of the military member’s parent.
Contact an Illinois Employment Law Defense Attorney
If you are an employer, there are certain rules you must adhere to when it comes to the FMLA. In order to avoid any potential issues between you and your employees, it is best to take a preventative approach and learn the stipulations and requirements of the act. At the Miller Law Firm, P.C., we can answer any questions you might have about the FMLA or any other employment law issues. Contact our skilled Schaumburg, IL employer defense representation lawyer today by calling our office at 847-995-1205 to set up a free consultation.