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protecting the rights of employees in rhode island

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Is an employee entitled to medical leave from their job?

Many Cranston residents take a great deal of pride in their jobs. Individuals may put in long hours, overcome challenges and dedicate themselves to their careers.

On occasion, however, individuals may experience situations in their life that leave them unable to work for a period of time. Perhaps the most obvious is the joyous occasion of having a new child born into the family, which may require new mothers and fathers to care for their little one for a period of time. In other cases, individuals may have a serious health issue that requires them to take some time off of work. Alternatively, they may be needed at home to support a spouse or family member who is experiencing a difficult medical situation.

Unfortunately, a new study revealed that more than half of the United States' 60 largest employers do not offer paid family leave, or would not disclose their family leave policy. This was not true for all employers, however, such as the many employers who offered 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave for mothers, fathers and adoptive parents.

Even if a company does not offer leave under its particular employment policies, there are protections in place that cover many workers. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees are entitled up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their job. Workers cannot be retaliated against for taking FMLA leave, and the employer has certain restrictions from taking away the person's job following the leave.

Individuals who need to take leave should examine their employer's policies, as well as the requirements of taking FMLA leave. In doing so, they can protect their valued jobs while taking time to tend to the serious health or family matters at stake.

Source: USA Today, "Report: These big businesses offer no paid family leave, or keep it secret," Ashley May, Nov. 16, 2016

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