The Who and What of Family Leave

THE legislation makes available for eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year when an employee:

* Has a child born.

* Takes a child for adoption or foster care.

* Needs to care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.

* Is unable to perform his or her job because of a serious health condition. Who is eligible:

People who have been on the employer's payroll for 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours during the preceding year.

The employer must employ at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius of the employee's work site. Employee responsibilities:

* Must provide reasonable prior notice and make efforts to schedule leave so as not to unduly disrupt the employer's operations.

* May be required by employer to report periodically.

* Employees may ask for "intermittent leave," taking a few days or weeks off at a time instead of all 12 weeks, or "reduced leave," continuing to work part-time. Benefits:

During leave, employers must provide any pre-existing health benefits to the employee. But if the employee does not return to work, the employer may recover the cost of maintaining an employee's coverage. The bill does not supersede state laws providing greater benefits.

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