As a wise person said, all working people work one shift at home and one shift at work. We all experience times when one of the two puts inordinate pressure on us. Unfortunately, pressure could come to bear when a loved one (spouse, son, daughter or parent) suddenly develops a health problem and ends up in a hospital emergency room, with us in tow! While an increasing number of jobs provide flexible work schedules, some require the employee to be present at the workplace. If you are a surgeon or anesthetist, there is no way you could contribute to the task remotely. In cases where we are unable to report to work on account of an illness in the family; can we just send an SMS to the employer and expect it to exempt from attendance under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Not according to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals!
For Temporary Employees:
Temporary workers are eligible for FMLA leave only if they have worked for that staffing agency for the twelve previous consecutive months immediately preceding the leave and have worked at least 1250 hours during that period. If a temporary assignment is converted into a permanent position, hours worked in the temporary role count towards the FMLA eligibility test of the required 1250 hours.
If their assignment expires or the position is eliminated during the leave period, the leave then comes to an end. The staffing agency that assigns a temporary worker to a client (or a secondary employer) serves as the Employer of Record, and consequently has the obligation to reinstate the worker when returning from FMLA leave. Unless the agency requests the client to reinstate the worker; the worker has no claim against the client of the staffing agency.
As is true with any employer, staffing agencies must notify workers of their rights under the FMLA, administer their leave, and continue to maintain health benefits that the worker may be receiving. To avoid potential liabilities associated with the government viewing a company as a joint employer, companies using staffing agencies to provide temporary workers should require explicit assurances that the agency adheres to all FMLA guidelines.
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