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Job Opportunities Federal Family & Medical Leave Law (FMLA)

Family or medical leave laws generally protect covered employees from adverse actions such as termination or reassignments to substantially different positions or reductions in pay because the employee is absent from work to care for his or her own serious health condition or that of a family member. Such periods off of work are "protected leave" under these laws. The law also protects absences due to child birth or adoption. It covers both men and women equally. Both Federal and Wisconsin law provides for such protected leave.

To be entitled to protection under these laws, you must work for an employer that has a sufficient number of employees that brings it within the law, your work site may need a specific number of employees for you to be covered, and the absence must be for a qualifying medical condition or the birth or adoption of a child. Your absence must not exceed the amount of leave protected by the law and you must have medical support for a serious health condition. The laws also have provisions requiring certain notices before taking leave, if possible, and the law permits employers to require medical certifications to support the leave and fitness for duty certifications upon your return. The employer may also require you to check in during your leave.

If you do meet all the criteria for qualifying as a covered employee and otherwise meet the requirements necessary for the law to protect your period of leave, you have the right to return to the same or substantially equivalent position upon your return to work without a loss in pay.

The employer can generally force the employee on leave to use up all sick and vacation time and related pay during the period of protected leave. The employer has no obligation to pay an employee on protected leave, unless the employee chooses to use or the employer requires the employee to use paid leave benefits available to the employee under the existing compensation plan. Short term disability, if the employee has such a benefit, may also be used.

Some jobs, for "key employees", may not have protections despite meeting all the other criteria for protected leave.

Leave for serious medical conditions may include leave due to work injuries or non-work injuries. Fault as to the cause of injury or the medical condition has no bearing on entitlement to protected leave.