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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Ohio: How Does It Work?

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family and medical act ohio

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a crucial federal law that plays a significant role in the lives of Ohio employees and employers. In order to ensure one’s job security does not have to be sacrificed because of health or family circumstances, this legislation allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons.

The purpose of this article is to clarify the FMLA in Ohio, providing a comprehensive guide to its workings, eligibility criteria, and rights and responsibilities.


What is Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

As a landmark piece of legislation in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993. In the beginning, it was recognized that workers facing health crises, without losing their jobs, needed help.

In essence, FMLA allows employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year while maintaining their health insurance coverage. All government agencies, elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees are covered by this law. FMLA covers a wide range of situations, including illness, childbirth, adoption, and military family circumstances.

FMLA: Eligibility Criteria in Ohio

In Ohio, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) sets specific criteria to determine who is covered under its provisions.

Eligibility Criteria for FMLA in Ohio

  • Employer Eligibility: FMLA applies to private-sector employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. It also encompasses all public agencies, including local, state, and federal employers, and public and private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees.
  • Employee Eligibility: To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive). They must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave. The employee should be working at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Qualifying Reasons under the FMLA in Ohio

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in Ohio, employees are entitled to take leave for several significant reasons:

qualifying reasons under FMLA in Ohio

  • Personal: Leave for an employee’s own serious health issue
  • Family Member’s Serious Health Conditions:  This includes to care for a spouse, child, or parent suffering from a serious health condition.
  • Birth, Adoption, or Foster Care Placement of a Child: FMLA allows parents to take leave for the birth of a child, as well as for the adoption or foster care placement of a child, providing time for bonding and care.
  • Military-Related Exigencies and Caregiver Leave: Employees may take leave for reasons related to a family member’s military service, including exigencies arising from a family member’s deployment. FMLA also provides for a longer leave (up to 26 weeks) to care for a family member who is a service member with a serious injury or illness.

Related: Ohio Laws for Employers

Duration and Types of Family and Medical Leaves in Ohio

Duration of leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Maximum Duration of FMLA Leave: Employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period. In the case of military caregiver leave, this duration extends to 26 weeks.

Types of Family and Medical Leaves in Ohio

  • Continuous Leave: This involves taking a continuous, uninterrupted leave period.
  • Intermittent Leave: This type of leave allows employees to take FMLA leave in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason.
  • Reduced Schedule Leave: This allows an employee to reduce their working hours, either daily or weekly, for a period of time due to a qualifying reason.

Employee Rights and Employer Obligations Under the FMLA Leave

Rights and Protections Under FMLA in Ohio

Job Security

Employees are guaranteed the right to return to the same or an equivalent position.

This protection ensures job security, even after an extended period away for qualifying reasons.

Health Insurance Maintenance

Employers must maintain the employee’s health insurance under the same terms and conditions as if they had not taken leave.

Employees continue to be responsible for their portion of health insurance premiums.

Protection of Employee Benefits

Employee’s benefits are maintained as if the worker is actively working.

Employer’s Role in Granting Leave and Maintaining Compliance

Employers are required to grant leave to eligible employees for qualifying reasons under the FMLA.

They must also keep accurate records and comply with all aspects of the FMLA, including not interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of FMLA rights.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for taking FMLA leave.

How To Request FMLA Leave in Ohio

Step-by-Step Guide on How Employees Can Request FMLA Leave

  1. Determine Eligibility: You must work at a location with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius and be employed for at least 12 months by a covered employer.
  2. Understand the Reason for Leave: Determine your FMLA qualifying reason, such as personal health issues, family member care, birth or adoption of a child, or military exigencies.
  3. Notify Your Employer: Notify your employer in writing or verbally of your need for FMLA leave. While immediate notice is not always possible, FMLA generally requires 30 days’ advance notice.
  4. Submit Required Forms and Documentation: Complete any FMLA leave request forms provided by your employer. Provide medical certification or other required documentation to support your leave request, such as a doctor’s note or military orders, if applicable.
  5. Await Employer Response: After submitting your request, your employer must respond within five business days, notifying you of your eligibility and detailing any additional information required.
  6. Coordinate Leave Details: Discuss with your employer the specifics of your leave, such as the start date, duration, and any potential need for intermittent leave or a reduced schedule.
  7. Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities: Review the rights and responsibilities under FMLA, including job protection, health insurance continuation, and any obligations you have during your leave.

Documentation and Notice Requirements

  • Medical Certification: If you need leave due to serious medical conditions (personal or family), provide a medical certificate. The certification should include the date the condition began, its expected duration, and relevant medical facts.
  • Advance Notice: In case of foreseeable leave, such as childbirth or planned medical treatment, provide at least 30 days’ notice.
  • Periodic Updates: Keep your employer informed about your status and intent to return to work, especially if the leave duration changes.
  • Fitness-for-Duty Certification: Provide your employer with a fitness-for-duty certification before returning to work from serious health leave.

Resources about FMLA in Ohio

Here are some important Ohio related articles:

FMLA per State

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FAQ about Family and Medical Leave in Ohio

1. What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in Ohio?

  • FMLA is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons while maintaining their group health insurance coverage.

2. Who is eligible for FMLA leave in Ohio?

  • Employees are eligible if they work for a covered employer, have worked for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutively), have logged at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

3. What reasons qualify for FMLA leave?

  • Qualifying reasons include the birth and care of a new child, adoption or foster care placement of a child, care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition, or when the employee is unable to work due to their own serious health condition.

4. How much leave can I take under FMLA in Ohio?

  • Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for most FMLA reasons. For military caregiver leave, eligible employees can take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period.

5. Is FMLA leave paid or unpaid in Ohio?

  • FMLA leave is generally unpaid. However, employees can choose or employers may require the use of accrued paid leave (like vacation or sick leave) to cover some or all of the FMLA leave.

6. Does FMLA protect my job?

  • Yes, FMLA requires that employees be restored to their original job or an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment upon return from FMLA leave.

7. Can I take intermittent FMLA leave?

  • Yes, FMLA leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule when medically necessary. Employers may also allow intermittent leave for other FMLA-qualifying reasons.

8. What if my employer does not comply with FMLA?

  • If you believe your employer is not complying with FMLA, you can contact the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, or consult with an employment law attorney for guidance.

9. Are there any additional family leave laws in Ohio?

  • While Ohio does not have a separate state family leave law, other state laws like the Ohio Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act may offer additional protections.

10. How do I request FMLA leave in Ohio?

  • Notify your employer of your need for FMLA leave as soon as possible, preferably 30 days in advance if the need is foreseeable. Follow your employer’s procedures for requesting leave, which may include completing specific forms and providing medical certification.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment here, and our HR Specialist will respond as soon as possible.

HR Expert | Talent Management Enthusiast. You've found the right place! I'm Jose Sanchez, your expert HR guide with extensive experience in HR insight and talent management. I write about how businesses can thrive by nurturing and leveraging their talent. When I'm not immersed in HR, I love to explore the fascinating worlds of physics and psychology.

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