What Does Arizona Employment Law Say if I Need to Take a Medical Leave of Absence?

What Does Arizona Employment Law Say if I Need to Take a Medical Leave of Absence?

Have you suffered from an illness where you need to take time off of work? Or maybe you just had a baby and need some time to adjust. As an employee in Arizona, you should know your rights and what the employment law says about taking a medical leave of absence.

Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, is available in Arizona. This program allows for eligible employees to take unpaid and job-protected leave. Some states have other laws surrounding medical leave, however, Arizona is not one of those states. This means employees in Arizona only have rights to FMLA.

Who is Eligible

To be eligible for FMLA, your company must have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in either the previous or current year. Employees that are eligible have worked for the company for at least one year and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year.

Eligible Reasons to Take a Leave of Absence

The following reasons are covered by FMLA.

–       Recoup from serious health conditions

–       Care for a family member with serious health conditions

–       Bond with a new child

–       Handle qualifying situations for a family member that is in the service

–       Care for a family member that is in the service and has been injured

Length of Leave of Absence

The length of time off varies and depends on the circumstance. Employees are allowed up to 12 work weeks in a 12 month period for serious health conditions, bonding with a child or handling family member issues. This renews every 12 months. If you have suffered a personal injury or need to be a caregiver to a family member in the service, you are allowed up to 26 weeks in a 12 month period.

While on Leave

While on leave under FMLA, you will still receive health insurance. The time off is unpaid, but if you have PTO hours saved up, those can be applied. Once your leave is over, you are entitled to be reinstated to either the same or an equivalent position.

If you do need to take a medical leave of absence, you should inform your manager or human resource department right away. Obtain a copy of the FMLA policy and complete all necessary forms. Always speak with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns with your leave of absence. Hernandez Law has the employment law experience you need to provide sound legal advice and representation when needed.


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Paid Sick Leave Becoming a Reality for Some States

In several states, bills are being passed that require companies to give workers paid sick days, whether to care for themselves or someone else. Several big companies have adopted this policy as well; Chipotle, McDonalds, Microsoft, and others are providing paid sick and vacation days for their employees. The issue of whether employers should be required to offer paid sick leave is a polarizing debate, to say the least.

Some companies look at the additional cost as a way to retain valuable employees. And overall, most Americans think paid sick leave is a good idea; a recent New York Times and CBS News poll found that 85% of Americans polled agree that employers should offer paid sick leave to employees. However, paid sick leave is not without costs, and that money has to come from somewhere, sometimes from employers having to decrease employees’ wages.

Here in Arizona, mandated paid sick leave will not be a reality anytime soon. In fact, Arizona was one of 11 states to ban municipalities from passing paid sick leave laws.

Sick leave is not the same as family medical leave. Under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a “covered employee” who meets certain criteria is able to take off 12 weeks of unpaid time in any 12 month period to care for themselves, certain family members, or to give birth or adopt a child. A covered employee cannot be fired for taking the protected time off, and the protected time off cannot be counted against the employee for any reason. Although FMLA is unpaid, employees may use sick or vacation days provided by their employer.

If you or someone you know has faced disciplinary action or termination while on protected FMLA leave, or if you were denied leave, speak with an Arizona labor law attorney. No one should have to choose between taking care of their health and keeping their job.

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