The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not provide for paid time off. However, there are plenty of other employee protections under the Act.
Generally, the FMLA gives eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons. Here are the benefits of taking FMLA leave:
If you already receive group health insurance, you are entitled to continue under the insurance plan throughout your FMLA leave just as if you had continued to work. Keep in mind that you may be responsible for paying the insurance premiums.
Other Job Benefits
If your employer provides other benefits besides group health insurance, your entitlement to these benefits will depend upon your employer’s established policies. For example, any benefits that would be maintained while the employee is on other forms of leave such as paid disability leave, must be maintained while the employee is on FMLA leave.
Substitution of Paid Leave
While the FMLA only provides for unpaid leave, eligible employees may be entitled to “substitute” or run concurrently their accrued paid leave (such as sick or vacation leave) to cover some or all of the period of FMLA leave. In addition, your employer may also require that you use your accrued paid leave even if you would rather save it.
Perhaps the most important protection under the FMLA is job protection. This ensures that when you return from FMLA leave, your position must be restored to the same or equivalent job as when you left. In other words, you cannot be demoted, ordered to take a pay cut, or terminated for taking FMLA leave.
Contact an Attorney
If you believe that your FMLA leave rights have been violated, you may want to contact an employment attorney. It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for taking FMLA leave and you may be entitled to other rights as well.
- FMLA Leave Law: In-Depth (FindLaw)
- FMLA Overview: Rights and Responsibilities (FindLaw’s Chicago Employment Law Blog)
- What Is a Serious Health Condition for FMLA Leave? (FindLaw’s Chicago Employment Law Blog)