The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. As a Michigan worker, it’s vital to understand your rights under this law and how to protect them. Here are four essential tips:
Know your rights
Under state and federal laws, eligible employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for specific reasons, including:
- Personal or family illness
- Incapacity due to pregnancy
- Foster care placement of a child
You can take your leave all at once or intermittently throughout the 12 months. You also have legal protections against discrimination, harassment and retaliation because you filed for or took FMLA leave.
Maintaining a record of all interactions regarding your leave is crucial. Keep copies of all correspondences, including emails and letters, medical certifications and any forms you submit. This information will help ensure you are taking the proper steps to take leave and track the amount of time you take.
Further, this documentation can be vital evidence if your employer violates your rights.
Confidentiality is key
Your medical information is private, and your employer has limited rights to it under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Thus, your employer should only request enough information to validate your FMLA leave, which can be obtained in a certification from a health care provider.
Further, employers should take steps to keep your medical and personal details confidential and available only to parties who need them.
Consult a lawyer if necessary
If you feel your rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to consult with a lawyer who specializes in labor laws. You can also seek legal guidance if you are worried about eligibility or how to prepare for an upcoming leave.
Safeguarding your rights under FMLA is crucial. By following these tips, you can protect them and your job when taking FMLA leave in Michigan.