Game Plan for Paid Leave after FMLA Expires

After checking various sections of your portal, I have the following question:
My wife is currently disabled and is nearing the end of her 12-week FMLA period. As she needs additional time for treatments (3-6 months) and has significant sick bank time "saved" up with her employer, what are the best options for her to receive paid leave after the FMLA expires. P.S., her physician has recently certified an additional 3-month disability form.
P.S.S., if you recommend simply writing a letter to her employer, can you detail some key points to weight her request. Thanks.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 11, 2004 12:47 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Is 12 Weeks the Maximum?

The Family Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid medical or family leave under certain circumstances. It sets a minimum for employers. Although employers have started using the 12 week period as a kind of safe harbor rule allowing them to fire employees after 12 weeks of medical or family leave, employers still need to be very careful with that because FMLA does not set a maximum amount of medical or family leave. If an employer has a policy or practice which in effect gives employees more than 12 weeks of leave, then employers have to honor that. Thus, if an employer permits employees to bank sick leave in excess of 12 weeks, the employer has committed itself to more than 12 weeks of medical leave. At least you'll get the money, though your job will not necessarily be protected.

Although FMLA imposes a requirement that employers hold an employee's job for 12 weeks, there are circumstances where an employer can terminated an employee, even during those 12 weeks. As an employee's absence gets longer, I think it is safe to say that an employer has better grounds for replacing the employee.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jan 12, 2004 09:12 AM [EST]

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