Employees in Colorado should learn what their rights are under the nation’s Family Medical Leave Act when they need to care for family members’ needs.
More than 20 years ago the federal government enacted new legislation that guaranteed employees in all 50 states, including Colorado, the right to a certain amount of unpaid leave from their jobs for qualifying personal situations with no fear of losing their jobs for doing so. This legislation is referred to as the Family and Medical Leave Act or the FMLA for short.
Some states also created their own laws that added to and complemented the FMLA but Colorado is not one of them. Employee unpaid leave in Denver and the rest of Colorado is governed under the FMLA only according to BLR.com.
Basic statutes of the FMLA
According to the United States Department of Labor website, workers may choose to take as many as 12 weeks away from their employment under the FMLA per year. This leave is part of all employees' rights to provide assistance in special personal situations, including:
- Parents, children or spouses afflicted with medical conditions or illnesses that require or can benefit from special care on the part of an employee.
- The birth of an infant by the employee, the adoption of an infant by the employee or the placement of an infant in the employee's foster care.
- The placement of any child regardless of age in the employee's foster care.
The amount of leave can be extended if the care is to be provided to any member of the United State military. In these cases, an employee may take as many as 26 weeks away from a job. Also governed by special provisions is leave associated with commercial airline pilots and flight crew.
Specific details of the FMLA
As noted in U.S. News and World Report, employees must follow specific procedures when requesting leave per the FMLA. Businesses are allowed to request documentation that verifies the reason for the leave so long as the documentation does not provide confidential data to the employers. A certification directly from a physician or other healthcare provider is commonly utilized for this purpose.
In addition to tapping into FMLA benefits, employees are allowed to use other forms of leave first. These can include vacation pay or sick pay not yet taken at the time that leave is to be requested. In this way, the length of a leave can be extended as needed.
What should Denver employees do if leave is needed?
Any person employed in Colorado who needs to take personal leave could benefit from working with an attorney to fully understand the laws and what is allowed. Getting help in these situations is a good way to avoid problems down the road.
Keywords: FMLA, leave, employee