Like employers in every state, Nebraska employers must follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for certain reasons. Once an employee’s FMLA leave is over, the employee has the right to be reinstated to his or her position.
Nebraska law also gives employees the right to take time off for military family leave and adoption leave. Employees are entitled to the protections of all applicable laws; if more than one law applies, the employee may use the most beneficial provisions.
Federal FMLA Rights
Nebraska employees who are eligible may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health conditions, bonding with a new child, or preparation for a family member's military service; more leave is available for employees who need to care for a family member who was seriously injured on active military duty. For detailed information on FMLA leave, see Taking Family and Medical Leave.
Who Is Covered?
Employers in Nebraska are subject to the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:
- they have worked for the company for at least a year
- they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
- they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Reasons for Leave
FMLA leave is available if an employee needs time off to:
- recuperate from a serious health condition
- care for a family member with a serious health condition
- bond with a new child
- handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s military service, or
- care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military. (You can find more information on these last two types of leave in Military Family Leave for Employees.)
How Much Leave Is Available?
In Nebraska, employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave is available every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements explained above.
Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave. However, this is a per-injury, per-service member entitlement. Unless the same family member is injured again, or another family member suffers an injury while on active duty, an employee may not take additional leave for this purpose.
Leave and Reinstatement Rights
Employees are entitled to continue their health insurance while on leave, at the same cost they must pay while working. FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may be allowed (or required) to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave.
When an employee’s FMLA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions.
Nebraska Family and Medical Leave Laws
In addition to the rights granted by the FMLA, Nebraska employees have the right, under state law, to take time off for certain family and medical reasons.
Nebraska Military Family Leave
Nebraska employers with at least 15 employees must give time off to eligible employees who are the spouse or parent of someone called to military service of at least 179 days, for the state or the United States, on orders of the governor or the president. Employees are entitled to leave while state or federal deployment orders for the family member is in effect.
The amount of leave available depends on the size of the employer:
- Employers with at least 50 employees must provide up to 30 days of leave.
- Employers with 15 to 49 employees must provide up to 15 days of leave.
Nebraska Adoption Leave
All employers that provide parental leave following the birth of a child must make the same leave available to parents who adopt a child under the age of nine (or under the age of 19, if the child has special needs). This provision does not extend to step-parent or foster parent adoptions, however.