In addition to time your employer may give you off for vacation, sickness, personal days, or paid time off (PTO), which are discretionary in Utah, you may also have the right to take leave from your job under federal and Utah state law. For example, if you are caring for a family member who has a serious health condition or need to attend to practical matters arising from a family member’s military deployment, you may be legally entitled to take time off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Although Utah does not have a state family and medical leave law, it does require employers to give employees time off for military service and other responsibilities.
This article provides general information about your right to job leave in Utah. For more information, see our page on employee leave rights.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires larger employers to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to bond with a new child, to care for a seriously ill family member (a spouse, parent, or child), to recuperate from their own serious health conditions, or to handle certain practical matters arising from a family member’s military service. The FMLA also requires employers to give employees up to 26 weeks off to care for a family member who suffers or exacerbates a serious illness or injury during military service. (For purposes of this military family leave provision only, employees may take leave to care for a broader category of family members, including grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and cousins, if they are next of kin to an injured service member.)
Employers with at least 50 employees must comply with the FMLA. Employees are eligible for leave only if they have worked for their employer for 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave. Employees have the right to continue their employer-provided health benefits while on leave, and they must be reinstated when their FMLA leave is over. (Find more information on the FMLA at our Taking Family and Medical Leave page.)
Although some states have similar laws requiring employers to provide more or different types of family and medical leave, Utah does not.
Another federal law, the Unformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), gives eligible employees the right to be reinstated to their jobs after taking up to five years off for service in the U.S. military. These employees may be fired only for good cause for a period of up to one year after they return from service. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their military service. (Learn more about USERRA in Taking Military Leave.)
The laws of many states extend similar rights to employees who serve in the state’s military (such as the militia) or are called to state active duty. In Utah, employees who are members of the U.S. military reserves must be given time off for active duty, state active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training. Employees who take this leave must be reinstated to their former positions when their leave is completed, with no loss of benefits or seniority.
Utah law also gives employees the right to take time off work, without fear of retaliation, for the civic responsibility of serving on a jury. Employers must allow employees to take time off for jury service, and they may not threaten or coerce employees who are called to service. Employers may not require or request that employees use annual, sick, or vacation leave during jury duty.
Jury duty leave is unpaid. Under federal law, however, employers typically cannot deduct an exempt, salaried employee’s pay for time spent serving on a jury, unless the employee did no work for the entire week. For more information, see our article on pay docking.
Many states also require employers to give employees a small amount of time off, usually paid, to cast their ballots in an election. In Utah, employers must give employees two hours of paid time off at the start or end of their shifts to allow them to vote. The employer may decide when this time is taken. However, employers need not provide voting leave if the employee has three consecutive hours off work while the polls are open.