When an employee gets pregnant, how much time do they get off of work?
If you didn't address this in your employee handbook or in the employee's contract, there is a law that governs exactly what you must allow for in terms of time away from work and the position that must be available when the employee comes back to work.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") requires employers to allow certain employees time off to attend to medical, family or military issues. Texas' Family and Medical Leave Act follows the federal law, but then adds that if an employee works for the state of Texas that they must use all available sick leave and vacation before taking leave under the federal statute.
So what do you need to do specifically to comply with the FMLA requirements for employers?
FindLaw has put together a mini-guide to help people understand the FMLA requirements. Below are the important sections for an employer to know.
Employee Qualification for FMLA Time
First you need to know when employees are qualified under the FMLA. To qualify, a business must have more than 50 employees. Once a business has over 50 employees, then employees that have been employed for more than 12 months (does not need to be consecutive) and worked more than 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the first day of leave are qualified for leave.
Once qualified, employees must have a proper reason for leave, which is generally up to 12 work weeks. These reasons are: birth of a child, adoption of a child, care for employee's immediate family member, a serious health condition, or a qualifying exigency relating to active military duty.
Besides injury to a service member, other military exigencies include time after notification of immediate family's deployment to active duty, or making financial and legal arrangements for a family member on active duty.
All employers must post a general notice regarding the FMLA and an employee's rights under the law. This notice must also be posted in a visible location and printed in an employee handbook, or similar publication.
When an employee notifies the employer of their intent to take FMLA leave, or an employee discovers a potential FMLA-qualified reason for leave, then the employer has 5 days to inform the employee whether they are eligible for the leave. If the answer is no, there must be one reason given to the employee.
If the employee is eligible, then the employer must let the employee know what the expectations and duties are associated with the leave.
Once eligibility is determined, then the employer must designate the time taken as FMLA leave or differently, such as paid leave. The employer must also determine whether the employee will need to provide certification that they are fit to return to work and the amount of time that will be counted against the employee's FMLA leave allowance.
This information should give you a good idea of how to deal with FMLA requirements for employers regarding leave and your employees. If you have further questions you should contact a Houston Employment Lawyer.