Protected leave: A breakdown for employers

Needs arising from active duty military service are part of FLMA protected leave.

Under local, state and federal standards, companies have to keep track of many requirements, including employee hours and protected leave. This can be a difficult task, however, as a state obligation may override a federal one or vice versa. Failing to monitor certain employee instances can result in loss of money for organizations and headaches for payroll and benefits teams.

Let's take a closer look at the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and what employees are entitled to under the law:

What FMLA provides

The FMLA allows eligible employees to use 12 weeks of leave within a 12-month period. During this time, workers are not paid, but their position is job-protected and their group health insurance coverage continues.

Some of the situations covered under the FMLA are:

  • Childbirth and newborn care. 
  • Adoptive child placement and care. 
  • Spousal, parent or child care associated with a serious health condition. 
  • The employee being unable to perform the functions of his or her job due to a serious condition.
  • Qualifying need associated with a covered, active duty member of the military, including the employee's spouse or child. 

Determining eligibility

FMLA, or protected leave, is reserved for eligible employees of covered businesses. Company HR stakeholders should determine how many workers qualify for this benefit using guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Under these standards, all public agencies – including state, federal and local employers and education agencies – as well as private sector employers with 50 or more workers are eligible. 

New mom kissing sleeping newborn baby. Childbirth and newborn care are covered as part of protected leave.

Other DOL qualifications to consider for FMLA leave eligibility include: 

  • Must work for a covered employer.
  • Must have worked for that employer for at least 12 months.
  • Must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave.
  • Must work at or within 75 miles of a location where at least 50 people are employed.

Protected FMLA leave can be confusing for employers. There are a number of qualifications both they and their workers must meet to be eligible under DOL standards. Once eligibility is determined, it's important that HR teams ensure that employees receive the benefits they are entitled to. 

Supporting Benefits Administration 

One of the best ways to organize and support streamlined benefits administration is with a robust technological solution that can help keep track and monitor important elements including life events associated with protected leave. The most optimal systems are those accessible via online platforms, enabling HR stakeholders and employees to leverage self-service options for benefits administration. 

Secova's Benefits Administration Services include an innovative online benefits enrollment platform called iElect. This user-friendly platform includes powerful features like HR alerts, document posting and viewing, Life Event Management, Decision Support, and more. In this way, both employees and HR leaders have complete visibility into benefits administration, and keeping track of elements connected with protected leave and other benefits can be considerably streamlined. 

To find out more, connect with Secova today for a demonstration of our industry-leading Benefits Administration Services.