The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows certain employees to take unpaid leave with the right to go back to work under certain conditions. Illinois law provides employees certain medical leave rights on top of those already mandatory under federal law. If more than one law applies and they contradict one another, an employee may use the provisions that are most beneficial to them.
FMLA Federal Rights
Employees who are eligible for leave may take up to 12 weeks off. This includes leaving for bonding with a new child, preparing for a loved one’s military service, taking care of a loved one who was seriously injured while on active duty, or for serious health issues.
Who Must Follow the FMLA?
In Illinois, employers who have a minimum of 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the previous or current year, must follow the FMLA. Employees at these businesses will be eligible for FMLA leave if they meet the following conditions:
- They have worked for the company for a minimum of one year;
- They worked at least 1,250 hours the previous year; and
- The location at which they work employs at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius
When Can an Employee Utilize FMLA Leave?
As mentioned, an employee may take FMLA to leave if he or she needs to do any of the following things:
- Recuperate from a serious health condition;
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition;
- Bond with a new child;
- Handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s military service; or
- Care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military
Employees in Illinois may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period of time. After those 12 months have passed, they are eligible to take up to 12 weeks for the following 12-month period so long as the employee still meets the aforementioned eligibility requirements.
The amount of leave is long for military caretakers. Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave within a 12-month period of time if it’s to care for family members who were injured on active duty. This leave is per injury and per service member.
While on leave, employees can continue to receive health insurance at the same cost as when they were working. And although FMLA leave is unpaid, employees may use the paid leave that they have already acquired during their FMLA leave.
Generally speaking, after FMLA leave is over, an employee may be reinstated to the same or similar position.
Illinois’ State Leave Laws
Military Family Leave
In Illinois, employers who have a minimum of 15 employees must allow their employees who qualify to take time off to spend with their spouse or child while their loved one’s state or federal deployment orders are in effect. Employers with less than 50 employees must provide up to 15 days of unpaid leave, while those with at least 50 must provide up to 30 days.
Domestic Violence Leave
Under state law, employers who have a minimum of 50 employees must allow their employees who are eligible as victims of domestic or sexual violence, or who have a family member or household member who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, to take up to 12 weeks of leave per 12-month period of time. This is done for the purpose of them being able to:
- Seek medical treatment;
- Receive counseling;
- Obtain services from a victim services organization;
- Relocate or engage in other steps to further their safety; or
- Seek legal guidance.
Small Necessities Law
Finally, employers in Illinois who have at least 50 employees must allow employees who qualify to take up to eight hours of unpaid leave in any one school year, though no more than four hours per day, in order to attend their children’s classroom activities and conferences – assuming that they can’t be rescheduled.
The IL Employment Law Attorneys at ST Legal Group Can Help
If you have been terminated from your job and believe that it is because of an illegal reason (in violation of the FMLA), you should be able to remedy the situation through monetary compensation and/or reinstatement to your position. A knowledgeable and experienced Illinois employment law attorney can help you to fight for what you deserve. The qualified attorneys at ST Legal Group can help to protect your employment rights. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!