The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA for short, allows certain employees to take time unpaid time off from work for “specified family and medical reasons,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Employees who are covered under FMLA can “take up to 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons and up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave.” When an eligible employee takes time off from work using FMLA, they are granted certain protections.
What protections are granted to an Alabama employee who is on FMLA leave?
- The continuation of group health insurance coverage.
An employee who is provided group health insurance is entitled to continue receiving coverage while on FMLA leave “on the same terms as if he or she had continued to work.” This means that if the employee was receiving coverage for certain family members, the coverage must continue. However, the employee is still required to pay the normal cost for their health insurance premiums even when they are on FMLA leave.
- Other benefits.
If an employee was receiving additional benefits from their employer, those should be maintained while the employee is on FMLA leave. However, it is worth noting that the option of continuing these benefits “depends upon the employer’s established policies.”
- Job security.
When an employee returns to work after having taken FMLA leave, “he or she must be restored to the same job or to an “equivalent job,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Although an employer is not required to provide the employee with the same exact job as they had before, they must assign them a role that is “virtually identical to the original job in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.”
When an Employer in Alabama Violates an Employee’s Rights
If an employer in Alabama fails to protect an employee’s rights while he/she is on FMLA leave or violates his/her rights after returning to work, an Alabama employment law attorney should be contacted for legal advice. For example, if an employer failed to return an employee back to the same job or an equivalent job or retaliated against them for taking time off from work, he/or she could be in violation of labor laws and held accountable for their behavior. If an employee in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, or any other city in Alabama has had their rights violated by their employer and is seeking legal assistance, USAttorneys.com can connect them with an employment law lawyer in Alabama who would be happy to help address the issue.