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What is the Family and Medical Leave Act? Part III

August 10th, 2017

By Alidz Oshagan

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act? Part IIIThe Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is a federal law that requires certain employers to provide qualifying employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This blog post is Part III of a series providing an overview of the FMLA. Part I discussed the basics of the law, Part II discussed how an employee requests FMLA leave, and this post outlines what employees are entitled to while they are on FMLA leave.

Health Benefits
An employer must continue to provide you with health benefits while you are on FMLA as if you were actively working. If you normally pay a portion of the premium, you are responsible for continuing to do so while on FMLA.

Note that if you do not return to work for 30 days, the employer may recoup its share of the premium unless your failure to return to work is due to either: (1) a continuing or new serious health condition or serious injury or illness; (2) circumstances beyond your control; or (3) retirement.

Retirement Benefits
Time on FMLA does not constitute a break in service for vesting and eligibility purposes. However, an employer is not required to count unpaid FMLA leave towards service credit so long as other unpaid leaves you are may to take do not count toward service credit.

Entitlements Upon Return
When you return to work from FMLA leave, the employer is required to provide you with the same or equivalent position you held before you went on leave. This means that, upon your return, the employer must provide you with a position that provides virtually identical pay, benefits, and working conditions.

However, you have no greater right to continued employment than if you were not on leave. This means that if the employer engages in mass layoffs, you do not have a right to return to work if you would have been laid off had you not taken FMLA leave.

If you have questions about how the Family and Medical Leave Act affects you or someone you love, contact the employment lawyers at Willig, Williams & Davidson at (800) 631-1233.

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