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Texas Job Security Under FMLA

Posted by Tamara

There have been frequent questions posed by workers in Texas about the rules of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Some workers believe that employers are under some sort of obligation to hold their jobs open for them if they have to go out on FMLA leave. This is technically not true. FMLA laws do not contain any specifications about what happens with any employer when workers go on leave.

Employees can take leave under FMLA when they have a child, or after the adoption of a child. FMLA leave may also be taken after the placement of a foster child.

The Family and Medical Leave Act was established to protect workers when serious medical or personal problems arise that would keep them out of work for an extended period of time. The law does protect workers jobs, but not by requiring employers to hold jobs open. What the law says is that when an employee returns to work from being out on FMLA leave, he or she is entitled to a job that is equal to the job that they left.

For example, let’s say that Tracey goes out on FMLA for six weeks. When she returns, her old job is no longer available. Her employer would be required to provide her with a position that was comparable in wages, working conditions, and benefits.

If an employer needs to temporarily fill a position that has been vacated by a worker who is out on FMLA, then there are some different options available in order to fill that void. If there are several people at an organization that all do the same job, then it is possible that those individuals could cover for the worker who is out on leave. This would not cost the employer any additional money for hiring a temporary, or permanent, new worker.

A wonderful way to address this problem is to simply hire a temporary worker from a staffing agency. Temps are used to working short-term assignments, so as long as the employer makes the situation clear to the person up front, there should be no problem with hiring someone to fill in on a strictly temporary basis.

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