When the stresses of family life become significant, you may need to take some time off to focus on the situation at home. Whether it’s the good news of a newborn, or the difficult news of a serious illness in the family, it may require some extended time off. There is a program available to protect your job if that happens.
The Illinois FMLA law is there to help you, and it’s in sharp relief right now between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, when the focus is on the family. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year under certain conditions.
What are some of those conditions?
- The serious medical problem of you or a member of your immediate family.
- The birth of a child.
- Adoption, or bringing a foster child into the home.
When you are away from the job, the medical coverage you receive through your workplace can continue. However, when you are on unpaid leave, the payroll deductions must come from some other source. The employer will pay the amount and consider it an advance on future wages. When you return to the workplace, you will find that those weeks at home will now be showing up as medical premium payroll deductions on your paycheck. It is useful to have a signed agreement in place with your employer for this complicated legal situation.
There are steps you and your employer must take in the process. The employer must notify you about your status, and that notification must be in writing. You, in turn, must follow the instructions the employer outlines in order to maintain your job status in good standing. It’s important to remember that time on active military duty counts towards total employment for FMLA purposes.
Illinois is one of those states that abide by the federal FMLA program. Some states have chosen to create their own, somewhat different, versions of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Workplaces should display the Illinois FMLA poster outlining the program’s basics.