Babies are born. Sometimes a spouse or a son or daughter becomes seriously ill. We may adopt a child, or we may bring a foster child into the home. All of these events require our full attention to our family life.
The Arkansas FMLA law is there to allow us to shift our concentration from workplace to hearth in such circumstances. They are the kinds of circumstances we think about at this time of year, as Mother’s Day passes and Father’s Day is not too far away.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to offer job protection when we must leave our workplace to attend to pressing family needs. Some states have chosen to create their own versions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which are sometimes slightly different. Arkansas abides by the federal program. Under the law, employees can take as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for these kinds of circumstances. Private workplaces with 50 or more employees must abide by the law. Public workers and teachers are protected even if the workplace has fewer than 50 employees.
Employers and employees each have obligations to fulfill under the law. Employers must notify a worker immediately in written form about the leave status and telling him or her what must be done to insure the position is still there upon return to the workplace. Employees must do their share by following through on the instructions from the employer.
Workplace medical coverage premiums are paid by payroll deductions. What happen when a worker is on unpaid leave? The employer pays the premium and declares it an advance on the worker’s future paychecks. When returning to work, the payroll deductions during the unpaid leave are taken from the paycheck.
The Arkansas FMLA provides a poster describing the basics of the program, including eligibility and benefits. It should be displayed prominently at work.