Michelle Cohen Levy

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Knowing what job awaits one returning from FMLA leave

| Apr 14, 2019 | Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) |

Most in Fort Lauderdale understand that life happens regardless of the plans that people make, and oftentimes its circumstances can compel them to essentially “hit the pause button” with everything else they have going on to deal with certain things. One of the activities that people often have to put on hold to accommodate dramatic events in their lives is work. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows for that. 

The U.S. Department of Labor shows that FMLA allows eligible workers to take leave for the following reasons: 

  • The birth of a child
  • Adopting a child (or having a foster child placed in one’s home)
  • Recovering from a serious injury or illness
  • Assisting a family member in recovering from an injury or serious illness

Adequately dealing with these events can take months, which is why FMLA afford eligible employees up to 12 weeks of leave over the course of a year. Being away from work that long can present a number of issues for both employees and employers, which prompts many to ask whether they can expect their same jobs to be waiting for them when they return from leave. 

According to the DOL, the answer to that question is no. While the law requires that an employer allow an employee to return from leave (and to retain their benefits while on leave), it does not have to return the employee to the same position (which opens the to door to allowing it to fill the position in the employee’s absence). When the employee does return to work, the employer is only required to return them to an equivalent position that offers comparable pay and benefits to their previous job, and does not dramatically differ in terms of shift and location.