Federal employment law allows employees to take time off to take care of a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition. As an individual, you are also entitled to a healthcare leave if your health condition impairs your ability to work.
The Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted in 1993 to protect an employee’s job while on unpaid leave. The federal law provides that an eligible employee is entitled to take FMLA after which you can resume work and still enjoy the same benefits.
At the state level, Arizona’s Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act gives employees paid sick leave. Employees earn a minimum of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. Arizona employers with fewer than 15 employees must give at least 24 hours of paid sick leave each year. Businesses with 15 or more employees must give a minimum of 40 hours each year.
How Do You Know If You Are Eligible for FMLA?
Not every employee is qualified for FMLA. Below are the criteria for eligibility:
- You must have been employed with the company for 12 months
- If you work in any city of Arizona such as Tempe or Scottsdale, you are required to have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months
What Does FMLA Cover?
You are allowed to request FMLA time off under the following circumstances:
- To care for a family member, that is a spouse, child or parent
- To take care of your health condition
- To care for a newborn baby
- To help transition a spouse called to active duty
- To prepare for the birth of a child
What happens if you are not eligible for FMLA?
If you do not meet the criteria, the Fair Labor Standards Act allows you to discuss alternatives with your employer for time off for medical reasons. Most employers grant unpaid time off at their discretion, depending on the needs of the business.
There is also the option of using vacation or sick time in place of FMLA. Short-term or long-term disability are the other available options. Some of the options may be available in your employment contracts.
The purpose of FMLA is to allow you to balance work and family and personal medical needs without sacrificing your job. Unfortunately, some claims are denied. If you are eligible for FMLA and your manager denies you weeks of unpaid leave, you are allowed to explore other legal options. You need to seek the legal services of an employment law attorney.
How to Go About an FMLA Claim
The moment you realize that your FMLA rights have been violated, you should approach a law firm for legal advice on how to proceed. The U.S. Department of Labor gives you the option of filing a complaint in person with the Secretary of Labor in Phoenix, or filing a private lawsuit. You can do this through mail or telephone provided you have all the information required, which includes contact information.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides more information about FMLA such as the workweeks limitations and the employee reinstatement rights under the FMLA.
The law offices at HKM Employment Attorneys will assist you with legal issues linked to practice areas such as wrongful termination, disability discrimination and pregnancy discrimination. With the help of experienced and knowledgeable employment law attorneys, we can find the recourse you deserve.