Leave of Absence Laws in Arizona

leave of absence laws in arizonaMost people have to take a leave of absence from work at one point or another during their career.  In most cases, a leave of absence from the workforce is medical-related.  Whether you are injured in a car accident, recently had a baby and looking to build a bond or have an illness that will force you to remain at home, you will likely need an extended amount of time away from work.  Thankfully, Arizona employees have employment rights that allow for a lengthy medical leave of absence from work.

The Family Medical Leave Act

Commonly referred to with the acronym of FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act is applicable to nearly all of those who work in the state of Arizona.  The FMLA program empowers eligible employees to leave work without putting their job in jeopardy.  However, this leave is unpaid.  Certain states have additional laws pertaining to medical leaves of absence.  Arizona is not in that group of states.  Therefore, employees working in the Grand Canyon State have full FMLA rights.

Eligibility for FMLA

In order to qualify for FMLA, the employer in question must have a minimum of 50 employees.  Furthermore, these employees must remain with the business for a minimum of 20 weeks in the current year or the year prior.  Only the employees who have worked for the business for at least a full year and worked 1,250 hours across the previous year are eligible for FMLA.

Legitimate Reasons to Take a Leave of Absence From Work

Only certain reasons to take a leave of absence are covered through FMLA.  As an example, a new mother looking to establish a bond with her baby qualifies for FMLA leave.  Additional reasons to take FMLA leave of absences include:

  • An individual attempting to bounce back from a significant health problem
  • Caring for a family member plagued by a serious health problem
  • An individual providing care for an injured family member in the service
  • Other qualifying situations for family members in the service

How Long can the Leave of Absence Last?

Leave of absences differ according to the unique circumstances of each unique case.  Those who have a personal injury or serve as a caregiver to a loved one in the service are provided with upwards of 26 weeks for a leave of absence in any given year. Employees are permitted to work upwards of a dozen work weeks across a 12-month period for major health problems, assisting with family member health challenges or bonding with a newborn.  Thankfully, eligibility for a leave of absence renews on a yearly basis.

The Leave of Absence

When you take time off of work through a FMLA leave of absence, you still enjoy the services provided through regular health insurance.  Though your time off from work is unpaid, you can still use your PTO hours toward your leave of absence.  Once the leave ends, you are legally permitted to be reinstated at work to the same position you left or a position that qualifies as its “equivalent”.

How to Take a Leave of Absence

If you qualify for a leave of absence according to the criteria detailed above, let your manager or supervisor know as soon as possible.  Get a copy of the FMLA policy to analyze and store in your records.  Fill out all of the required forms.  If you have any concerns or questions about your employment rights including a potential leave of absence, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced employment attorney.

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