Sometimes, unexpected life events happen and prevent people from being able to work. Whether there is a family emergency or you have suffered an unexpected medical emergency, you may be able to take leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you have taken time off of work due to FMLA leave, it is important you know what to expect and what steps you should take when you make your return.
At Stepp & Sullivan, our attorneys have more than 70 years of combined experience helping our clients protect their rights after they return to work from FMLA leave. Going back to work after FMLA leave can be stressful. That is why it is important you consult one of our trusted lawyers to understand what you can expect when you get back to your employer.
What Are Your Rights When You Return to Work From FMLA Leave?
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides coverage to employees who may need to take time off of work for certain family or medical related issues. While many employers do offer FMLA leave, employees should not assume. This is because employers are not required to offer FMLA to staff unless they employ 50 or more employees. Additionally, even if your employer offers FMLA leave, there are certain qualifications you must meet to qualify for the leave:
- You must have worked for your employer for the last 12 months and at least 1,250 hours
- You must work within 75 miles of a location where your company employs at least 50 or more people
- You cannot be considered a key employee, or an employee who is paid within the top 10% of all employees at the company
If you do qualify and are granted FMLA leave, you have certain rights that you should expect to be honored when you return to work. These rights are as follows:
- You should be given your original job back
- You should resume your original or similar duties
- You should be given the same pay
If you return to work following FMLA leave and these rights are not honored, you may need the help of a trusted lawyer who can help protect your interests through dedicated representation.
How to Prepare for Your Return to Work After FMLA Leave
To ensure that your return to your job after taking FMLA leave goes as smoothly as possible, there are several steps you can take. These steps are as follows:
Keep Up Communication With Your Employer
Whether you had to leave suddenly due to an emergency or if your leave was planned, it is beneficial to you in the long run that you communicate with your supervisor or HR department while you are on FMLA leave. Explaining how your recovery is progressing and when you expect to return to work in brief email updates is all you need to ensure that your employer can be prepared for your return.
Plan Your Return to Work in Advance
When your return to work date gets close, set up a meeting with your supervisor to find out what you have missed and if there are any major changes that may have occurred while you were gone. Ensure that you are up to speed on projects you will take over and work with your boss to set up a plan for your return to your original role.
Find Out if You Need a Fitness-For-Duty Certification
You should consult with your employer regarding if you need a Fitness-for-Duty certification. Under FMLA, an employer has the option to require you to obtain this certificate from your doctor before you are permitted to return to work.
Reach Out to a FMLA Leave Lawyer as Soon as Possible
The skilled attorneys at Stepp & Sullivan are passionate about helping clients understand their rights in regards to returning to work after FMLA leave. We have several decades of experience helping Texans protect their rights and interests and ensure their transition back to work is as seamless as possible. To discuss your next steps with a dedicated and trusted Texas lawyer, call us today at (713) 336-7200 or complete our contact form.