The importance of family medical leave protections

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides protections for job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks for an employee's serious medical condition or a serious medical condition of an employee's covered family member. Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave (RIFML) is a similar state law in Rhode Island except that it provides up to 13 weeks of job-protected leave for an employee or covered family member's serious medical condition.

Family leave may be taken for the birth of a child or for the care of a newborn within one year of the child's birth; to care for a newly adopted child of the employee or newly placed foster care child within one year of the adoption or placement; to care for the employee's spouse, domestic partner, child or parent who is suffering from a serious health condition; if a serious health condition renders the employee unable to perform essential functions of their job; and in some other circumstances as well.

FMLA can be used for up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period and RIFML can be used for up to 13 weeks in a 24-month period. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the leave time can be used intermittently or as a reduced schedule based on medical need. Once the employee returns to work, they must be returned to their original position or an equivalent position. Discrimination for taking family leave is not permitted and employees in Rhode Island should be familiar with their family leave rights.

Employees in Rhode Island are protected when they are unable to work because of a serious health crisis or other significant medical issue in their lives. It is essential for them to be familiar with how to enforce those protections and ensure they are not discriminated against when facing their own health challenges or the health challenges of family members.

Source: Brown University, "Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/Rhode Island Parental Family and Medical Leave (RIPFML) (20.043)," Accessed Oct. 16, 2017

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