Family life and work life are both important, but sometimes when a medical emergency arises, family life must come first. The Family Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, was introduced as a federal law that protects employee rights to attend to family medical emergencies without the threat of being fired or harassed as a result of having to miss work for family emergencies. A heavy labor manufacturing job can sometimes be a dangerous job, so a worker might need to use FMLA time in the event of an injury.
FMLA doesn’t just protect the employer if they have to miss work because of an injury to themselves. It will also protect the worker if they need to take time off to care for a spouse, sibling, parent, or other family member. Knowing which types of leave are covered is essential to ensuring that you keep your job during family medical emergencies. Not all types of leave will be covered under FMLA laws.
What exactly is FMLA?
There are two critical parts of FMLA that heavy labor manufacturing employees need to know about. The first is that FMLA entitles you to take unpaid, protected leave in the event of a verifiable family medical emergency, and it also protects your right to group health insurance when you’re taking this leave. You will lose the pay during the time of your leave, but you won’t be in danger of losing that all important health insurance.
How much time is covered under the FMLA? It amounts to 12 weeks of protected time off. What you can take time off for will also be subject to review by your employer. That’s why FMLA forms are so extensive. They do review your request and either approve or deny it. Situations that will be covered include:
- Childcare for a child 1 year old or younger
- Birth of a child
- Spousal care
- Parental care
Gray areas of the FMLA
Sibling coverage has long been a complaint of many people who have reviewed the policies of the FMLA. In some industries, your time off to care for a sibling is not covered under FMLA, and there are many employers who are trying to change that. One situation where your time off to care for a sibling might be covered would be if they’re a member of the armed services. Any family member that’s a member of the armed services might be a family member you can take time off to care for while still being under the protections of the FMLA.
Your 12 weeks of paid time off is covered during a 12 month calendar year, so it has to be in that same period of time. You get this same 12 weeks of unpaid leave the next year, and the next, and so on. For many people in dangerous industries like heavy labor manufacturing, it provides a lot of peace of mind to know that you can take care of your family and yourself during medical emergencies without having to fear losing your job.
The FMLA is not a done deal, and many people have pointed out the need to have siblings covered in all situations. Many employers have taken it upon themselves to accept siblings as part of the FMLA, even without it being written into law. Other employers have simply followed the FMLA regulations to the letter, and they will sometimes deny an FMLA that includes leave to care for siblings. Parental care is covered, so that’s a blessing, but many lawmakers want to make siblings a permanent part of what’s covered in the FMLA.
As years go by, the federal government will hopefully change the FMLA to include more types of family members, and they will work to make sure that the FMLA is upheld in more cases, as employers can sometimes deny claims that should have been approved. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen sometimes. Always take advantage of your FMLA benefits. You have a family life to tend to as well as a work life, and the FMLA is a blessing that allows you to keep your job while still taking care of your family.
If you have any questions about FMLA regulations, call us today at 800-737-0933. We’ll be happy to go over all of the ins and outs of the Family Medical Leave Act with you so that you know what’s protected leave and what’s not.