If you run your company like a tight ship, you are banking on having your employees available when you need them. When one of them comes up and asks for time off, it is understandable if you want to say no. However, legally, you may be obliged to say yes.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) aims to avoid workers from choosing between work or family. It gives employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12 months providing specific requirements are met.
Firstly, it depends on whether your business falls under this law. If you are a federal employer, a school or a private company that has employed over 50 staff for 20 weeks, you must comply.
Next, it depends on the employee. They must have worked no less than 1250 hours for you in the last 12 months and have worked for you for at least 12 months in total.
Finally, it depends upon the reason they want time off. If it is to travel around the world or watch a golf tournament on the television, you can say no. The FMLA only covers people who need to take time off for these specific reasons:
- If they have become a father or a mother, or recently adopted a child.
- If they cannot work due to injury, illness or pregnancy.
- If they need to look after a son, daughter, spouse or parent who is severely ill or pregnant.
- If they need to care for someone as a family member has been called out on active military service.
- If they need to care for someone injured on military duty, they can take up to 26 weeks in 12 months.
To avoid falling afoul of labor laws, seek the help of a Sioux Falls business attorney.