A bill to end Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave coverage would significantly harm Wisconsin families, including ending the right to use paid sick leave while on family leave to care for a child after birth or adoption.
The bill, SB 490, would exempt an employer covered under the federal law and medical leave law from the state family and medical leave law. This would include virtually all school districts in the state!
The proposal’s author, Senator Alberta Darling, is minimizing the impact this bill but, if passed, this bill will have significant adverse consequences for working families. Act Now to Protect Families!
More about the bill:
Background: A bill is being circulated by Senator Alberta Darling that will end Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave protections for employees working for employers covered by the federal FMLA, which would include virtually all school districts in the state. Senator Darling is minimizing the impact this bill will have by maintaining it merely reforms duplicative laws. The reality is that if passed this bill will have significant adverse consequences for working families.
About Wisconsin FMLA: In 1988, Wisconsin was one of the first states to pass FMLA. Five years later, Congress followed Wisconsin’s lead and created a federal FMLA. FMLA allows an employee who meets certain criteria to take unpaid time off if they become ill, have a child, or need to care for a sick parent, spouse or child. All of the provisions below would be removed with the federalization of FMLA:
- Under Wisconsin FMLA, an employee is entitled to six weeks of specifically designated family leave following birth or adoption. Therefore, if an employee had already used 12 weeks of FMLA leave for her own serious health condition, that employee would still be able to take six weeks of protected leave to care for her child. Without coverage under the Wisconsin FMLA, an employee would no longer be entitled to six weeks of specifically designated “family leave” following the birth or adoption of a child. This means that a mother who needs to use FMLA leave for 12 weeks for her own serious health condition, due to being placed on bedrest or otherwise, would have no right to additional leave following the birth of her child.
- Under the Wisconsin FMLA, employers are required to allow employees to substitute any accrued paid leave for leave provided for under the law. This means, that employees taking leave to care for children following birth and adoption can use paid sick leave to cover their absences even though the leave is not due to illness. Without coverage under the Wisconsin FMLA, employees would have no right to use accrued paid sick leave to care for their children following birth. This would have a particularly devastating effect on education employees who frequently are given no vacation leave.
- Under the Wisconsin FMLA employees working 1000 hours for a full year are covered. Under the federal FMLA, only employee working 1250 hours for a year are covered. Without coverage under the Wisconsin FMLA, fewer part-time employees will have coverage.
- Under the Wisconsin FMLA intermittent leave is permitted for all family and medical leaves in increments equal to the shortest increment permitted by their employer for any other non-emergency leave. Without coverage under the Wisconsin FMLA, intermittent leave is only permitted if medically necessary for a serious health condition. It is not permitted for birth or adoption, unless an employer agrees otherwise.