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Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Attorneys

You Have the Right to Take Time Off Work for Important Family Needs

Understanding the Family & Medical Leave Act

Employees need time off from work when they or their family members are ill or to care for a new child. Wisconsin and federal law provide eligible employees the right to take certain leave and be protected from losing their job.

Federal FMLA

You are eligible if your employer employs 50 employees within 75 miles of your work location, you have worked there at least 12 months, and you have actually worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months.

You are entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave in a uniform 12-month period for:

  1. New Child Leave – Birth, adoption or foster placement of a child (must end within one year after the birth, adoption or placement);
  2. Family Care Leave – Family member serious health condition(s);
  3. Medical (Self Care) Leave – Your own serious health condition(s); or
  4. Qualifying Exigency Leave – “Qualifying exigency(ies)” related to the foreign deployment of a family member in the military.

You may take up to 26 workweeks of Servicemember Family Leave (including the 12 weeks of other FMLA leave) in a single 12-month period to care for a family member recovering from a military service-connected serious injury or illness. Federal FMLA leave is unpaid, but:

  • Your employer must maintain your health insurance coverage on the same basis as if you were working.
  • You or your employer may substitute paid vacation, holiday pay, or other personal leave for any FMLA leave;
  • You may substitute sick leave for Medical (Self Care) Leave, Family Care Leave and Servicemember Family Leave, if the policy allows for such use, but not for New Child or Qualifying Exigency Leave.
  • Your employer may substitute sick leave for Medical (Self Care), Family Care and Servicemember Family Leave, but not for New Child or Qualifying Exigency Leave.
  • If you do substitute, you must comply with the normal procedural rules applicable to the paid leave, unless your employer waives them.

Wisconsin FMLA

You are eligible if your employer employs 50 employees anywhere in Wisconsin, you have worked there at least 52 consecutive weeks, and you have worked or been paid for at least 1,000 hours in the last 52 weeks.

Unlike leave under the federal law, the Wisconsin law gives you 3 separate FMLA leave banks. During a calendar year, you are entitled to up to:

  1. New Child Leave – 6 workweeks of leave for birth or adoption of a child (must begin within 16 weeks of the birth or adoption);
  2. Family Care Leave – 2 workweeks of leave for family member’s(s’) serious health condition(s); and
  3. Medical (Self Care) Leave – 2 workweeks of leave for your own serious health condition.

Wisconsin FMLA leave is unpaid, but:

  • Your employer must maintain your health insurance coverage on the same basis as if you were working; and
  • You (but not your employer) may substitute any type of accrued paid leave for any type of FMLA leave.

Under the Greater Benefit Rule, you may choose which type of FMLA (State or Federal) you want to use for particular leave.

Protection from Interference with FMLA Rights

It is unlawful under both federal and state law to retaliate against an employee or interfere with their exercise of their FMLA rights, including disciplining you for taking FMLA leave.

Find further information in Hawks Quindel Attorney Jeffrey Sweetland’s Handbook for Wisconsin Workers on Family and Medical Leave Rights [link]

Our Employment Attorneys Can Fight for Your FMLA Rights

If you think your FMLA rights may have been violated, please contact us to discuss your situation. For Madison employment attorneys, call (800) 610-0040 or (608) 257-0040; for Milwaukee employment lawyer, call (800) 236-3348 or (414) 271-8650, or send us an email.