Florida has decided to adopt the FMLA federal program. Other states take other directions, approving their own laws about job protection. These laws have similarities with the federal FMLA, but are not identical.
In Florida FMLA protects the worker from the risk of losing his or her job in the case of an emergency. In certain situations, the law permits an employee to take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave. The emergencies can be the birth of a baby, the adoption of a child, illness or medical urgency of the employee or an immediate parent.
Now is a good time to review the Florida FMLA law because Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are this time of year. It is great to know that a law exists that protects us from losing our jobs when life becomes complicated.
In every job site, a poster should explain who is protected by the Florida FMLA, and how the worker can make good use of these benefits. All public employees are protected by the act, and also schoolteachers. In the case of private companies, those with 50 or more employees must comply with FMLA regulations.
Under Florida FMLA law, the employers must give written notice to the employee of his or her responsibilities during leave. The employer must specify the status of the worker and give instructions to follow during the leave. The employee must act in accordance this agreement in order to maintain their job. A good relationship between the employee and the company is recommended.
Under the USERRA, time served on active military duty counts as hours towards FMLA eligibility.
One important issue that the worker must agree with the employer on, is medical coverage. Medial insurance may be dropped due to non-payment during FMLA leave. Most employees have medical insurance paid with a portion of the salary. When they leave, the employer may opt to continue paying the medical insurance premiums. When the employee returns, they repay the amount owed.
I thought I would check in to shed a little light on Florida maternity leave laws. I was just over on the Florida Department of Labor web site and really learned a lot!
If you are a private sector employee, Florida has no laws that guarantee job protection or benefits for new parents. So if you are a private sector employee your best bet is probably to use the two federal laws that come into play for pregnant women and new parents. They are the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and also by the Family Medical Leave Act.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire, or deny a woman a promotion because she’s pregnant. Basically, she must be treated just like anyone else in the company! This goes for sick leave and disability too. If a company offers these things to other employees, then it also must offer them for pregnancy-related issues.
The Family Medical Leave Act allows private or public sector employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to, among other things, take care of a newborn baby or newly adopted child. One thing though—if you plan to take advantage of this act you have to work for an employer with more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.
It’s really important that you understand that this act doesn’t guarantee your job will be held. A provision designed to ease economic hardship for businesses allows companies to let you go during your leave if you are in the top 10 percent of highest paid employees. Before you get too worried, know that your company has to notify you before you go on leave that you are one of these employees. The company also has to give you the option of returning to work before your leave is up.
If you are a public sector employee in Florida you have another option. Florida state employees are entitled to a maximum of six months of unpaid parental or family leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or to care for one’s own or a spouse’s pregnancy disability or recovery from childbirth.