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What to expect when returning from parental leave

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, employees have a right to take a leave of up to 12 weeks each year to care for themselves, an immediate family member who is ill, or a new baby. Although this leave is unpaid, the key benefit is that it is job-protected, which means that employers cannot fill the employee's job while they are gone or treat them less favorably when they return. 

Unfortunately, this is not always the case, so Pittsburgh workers should know their rights when it comes to the FMLA so that they can get the protection they are entitled to from their employer. 

There are many ways in which employers may try to work around the terms of the Family Medical Leave Act to suit their needs. For example, the Act requires them to return employees to their same job or one that is equivalent. An equivalent job doesn't mean one that has similar duties or is in the same department, it means one with similar pay and responsibilities and the same general requirements. So, if an employee returns from FMLA leave to a job that requires much more travel that their previous position that may be a violation of the Act's protections.

Another example of this may be transfer to a different department. As many people are aware, the same job title in different departments could mean a completely different set of responsibilities and duties. If the new position is technically the same but is not a job that the employee is qualified or well-suited to, then it could be a violation of the FMLA.

Source: Business Management Daily, "Reinstate employee to equivalent job after FMLA leave," May 23, 2013