Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave

Wisconsin and federal law both give employees the right to take time off work for family and medical reasons.

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Like employers in every state, Wisconsin 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.

Wisconsin law also gives employees the right to take time off for family and medical reasons. 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

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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?

Employees in Wisconsin 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.

Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Law

In addition to the rights granted by the FMLA, employees in Wisconsin have the right to family and medical leave under state law

Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave

Employers with at least 50 employees must give eligible employees time off for family and medical leave, as follows:

  • Family leave: Employees may take up to six weeks in a calendar year for the birth or adoption of a child, plus up to two additional weeks in a calendar year to care for a family member with a serious health condition. (Parents-in-law are included as family members.)
  • Medical leave: Employees may also take up to two weeks in a calendar year for their own serious health condition.

For More Information

You can get information on Wisconsin’s family and medical leave law at the website of the state’s Department of Workforce Development.  

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