While South Carolina doesn’t have its own dedicated law on the subject, employees in state are eligible to take paid family leave under the federal law, referred to as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If they comply with all the requirements of the statute, an employee is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year.
However, unfortunately some employers may see a leave request as a reason to subject the employee to unfair treatment. This treatment may be actionable if it’s egregious enough, and contacting an attorney to discuss the matter can help to clarify your options. Learn more about employment discrimination after paid family leave.
Many Requirements To Fulfill
In order to take advantage of the FMLA, your employer must be covered by the act, and you must also be eligible as an employee. A “covered” private employer has at least 50 employees in 20 or more work weeks in the current or preceding year. Public-sector employers are uniformly covered, as well as elementary and secondary schools, whether public or private. If your employer is covered, you can then determine whether you are eligible for leave or not.
Eligibility for an employee requires that they have worked for their employer for at least one year, and have logged at least 1,250 hours within that time span. They must also work at a location where at least 50 employees work within a 75-mile radius. If they meet all these criteria, they must in addition cite one of the specified reasons for taking leave:
- To manage their own health condition
- To take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition
- To take maternity or paternity leave
- To help settle a child they are taking on for adoption or foster care
- To prepare for a covered military member being called to active duty service
The Absolute Right To File
Despite how arduous the FMLA process can be to go through, many employers take the opportunity to treat an employee on leave in an inequitable manner when they attempt to return to work. For example, they may retaliate against the employee for making the request in the first place—even before they take the leave—by demoting them, making them take a pay cut, or other negative employment actions. Sometimes, employers may even terminate employees coming back from FMLA leave, if they believe they can explain it away sufficiently.
One important thing to keep in mind is that an employee doesn’t have to specifically invoke the FMLA in order to receive protection from it. If an employee requests leave or accommodation, it’s the employer’s responsibility to bring up the FMLA as a possible tool for the employee to get what they need. If you have fulfilled the requirements in order to qualify for FMLA leave, you have the absolute right to file for it, regardless of whether your employer believes you should.
Call A South Carolina Employment Attorney
This is what you need to know about employment discrimination after paid family leave. The FMLA applies to every employee who meets its qualifications. If your employer is trying to deny your right to take leave or is retaliating against you after the fact, calling a South Carolina employment discrimination attorney from the firm of Hitchcock & Potts can help you understand your potential options. Our firm is ready and willing to assist you. Contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.