Wisconsin is one of several states that have included provisions for family and medical leave within its own laws. Though the same issues are addressed, there are some differences between the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and Wisconsin laws and requirements. If you have questions about what is and is not allowed, consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for guidance.
Are My Employer and I Covered by Wisconsin’s Laws?
Under the FMLA, if your employer regularly employs 50 or more employees, it is covered by both the FMLA and Wisconsin law. There is a little divergence between federal and state laws on the amount of hours an employee must have worked in the last 52 weeks. Wisconsin requires at least 1,000 hours worked, whereas the FMLA requires 1,250 hours worked over the past 12 months.
How Much Leave Can I Take?
Wisconsin has included several provisions in its law regarding family and medical leave, including:
- In a 12-month period, an individual may take 6 weeks off for a birth or an adoption;
- Within a 12-month period, you may take 2 weeks off for a serious health condition of a parent, child, spouse, or step-parent;
- During a 12-month period, you are allowed to take 2 weeks off for your own serious health issue;
- Spouses are not required to share leave (FMLA requires shared leave if spouses work for same employer); and
- In a 12-month period, you cannot take more than 8 weeks off in a year for any combination of the above-listed situations.
For individuals who qualify for leave on a birth or adoption under both federal and Wisconsin laws, leave will be coordinated to run concurrently.
For instance, a mother will be able to use two weeks of Wisconsin leave for her own serious medical condition, and six weeks of federal leave for the same. She will then be able to take six more weeks under Wisconsin law for the birth of her baby, concurrently using the remaining six weeks of federal leave.
Who May Provide My Health Care?
If you are a resident of Wisconsin, you may seek care from any of the outlined health care providers listed in the FMLA. The FMLA defines health care providers as doctors of medicine or osteopathy who are authorized to practice medicine or surgery in the state in which they are licensed.
The list of allowable providers has expanded, and you may also receive support and treatment from the following providers:
- Physician, nurse, chiropractor, dentist, podiatrist, physical therapist, optometrist, psychologist;
- Certified occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, respiratory care practitioner, acupuncturist, social worker, marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, speech-language pathologist or audiologist; and
- Christian Science practitioner
How Should I Request My Leave?
You should give your employer advance notice of leave whenever possible. If you are taking a planned leave, you must make a reasonable and practicable effort to schedule any medical treatment or the care of others so as not to disrupt the employer’s schedule. If it is last minute or an emergency, inform your employer as soon as you are able.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
If you are in a situation involving family and medical leave in Wisconsin, you may wish to speak with an employment lawyer in your area. An attorney will be able to advise you of your rights and help to ensure you are being treated fairly by your employer. If you feel you are being discriminated against or punished by your employer, contact an attorney immediately.