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Employee Leave Rights Attorney in Akron, Ohio

Ohio law is largely employer-friendly, leaving employers the option of granting or denying vacation and sick time. Federal laws, however, still apply to employers in the state.

For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows qualifying employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for themselves or a family member, even to bond with a new child. But the FMLA kicks in only if an employer has an aggregate of 50 or more employees on the payroll within a 75-mile radius.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects service members who are called up and then are released back into the civilian workforce. Employers must reinstate the returning servicemember to his or her previous position, or a comparable one, with the same benefits. Additionally, Ohio has a military leave law on the books. Ohio’s Military Family Leave Act (OMFLA) exists solely for parents, spouses, and legal guardians of servicemembers who are called into active duty or who are injured, wounded, or hospitalized.

If you feel you have been denied your leave rights, or have been subject to retaliation or discrimination for exercising your rights under the FMLA, USERRA, or the OMFLA in or around Akron, Ohio, contact The Law Offices of Benjamin F. Riek III.

A former employee of the U.S. Department of Labor, Attorney F. Benjamin Riek III understands all applicable leave laws and will defend your right to fair treatment under these laws. As an employment law attorney, he proudly serves clients not only in Akron, but also in Hudson, Canton, Cleveland, Lorain, and the rest of Ohio.

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Employee Leave Under the FMLA

If you work for a covered employer—one with 50 or more employers in a 75-mile radius—you can qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if you have logged 1,250 hours of work within a 12-month period for the same employer. The 12 months do not have to be consecutive to account for businesses that are seasonal and not year-round.

You can take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave, which can be spread out and not taken consecutively, for any of these reasons:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth

  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement

  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition

  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job

  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”

In addition, under the FMLA, you can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a servicemember with a serious injury or illness if you are the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin. This is called military caregiver leave.

Your Rights Under USERRA

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, is not so much a leave policy as a set of rights for servicemembers returning to their place of employment after being called to active duty. Employers are obliged to return servicemembers to their previous position, or a comparable one, and restore their full benefits as they enjoyed them before leaving for deployment.

USERRA covers not only National Guard personnel and members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard and their reserve units, but also intermittent employees of the National Disaster Medical System, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, when they are activated for a public health emergency, or for approved training to prepare for such service.

Ohio’s Leave Laws and the OMFLA

The first thing to note about Ohio’s Military Family Leave Act, or OMFLA, is that it applies only after FMLA leave has been exhausted or when it is not available. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 consecutive months, and in the preceding 12 months have put in at least 1,250 hours.

Parents, spouses, and legal guardians of servicemembers who are called up or who are injured, wounded, or hospitalized can take up to 10 workdays of leave once each calendar year. The leave is unpaid, but the employer must continue to provide benefits.

Ohio employment law otherwise does not mandate any vacation, holiday leave, or even sick days. Employers are generally left to establish their own policies—but in a competitive environment, most employers will provide such benefits to attract the best employees.

Employee Leave Rights Attorney in Akron, Ohio

If you feel your rights to leave have been violated, or your employer has created a hostile work environment because you requested or took leave you’re entitled to—whether by employment agreement or under federal or state law—contact The Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek III immediately. Attorney F. Benjamin Riek III has four decades of experience in representing individuals and families in cases involving employee rights. He will listen to your story, assess your options, and help you protect your rights.