Employer Responsibility with Common Leave Requests

Photo of a pregnant woman in an office writing the words Maternity Leave in her diary.

If one thing is certain in the business world, it’s that employees will occasionally need time away from work. Whether this is for vacation, an employee sickness or other issues happening in the employee’s personal life, managing these requests is important.

To help facilitate these common issues, the government has put in place some laws that help to guide the employees and the employers in the right direction. Understanding some of the ones that affect your industry is the best way to deal with common leave requests and the employer’s responsibility.

Health Concerns

One of the most common reasons employees request time off is because they, or an immediate family member, are sick. However, there are also times when an employee needs time off due to a more serious health concern, such as giving birth, a surgery or a chronic illness they may have.

FMLA was enacted to help guide employers in these situations. It covers any “serious medical condition” and is intended for employers with more than 50 employees. With FMLA, employees are allotted 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year. This leave could be used to recover from a surgery, care for a family member with a serious medical condition or even deal with the struggle of a chronic illness they themselves have.

For the most part, normal sick leave isn’t covered under FMLA. However, there are several states who have developed laws that require sick leave to be provided to employees.

Having a Child

As before mentioned, those who are giving birth are provided with FMLA leave to cover prenatal care, giving birth and the recovery period. However, there are also other times when FMLA must be provided when a child is entering a family.

For example, both men and women are allowed to use FMLA when they have a child. Also, when a couple adopts a baby or a child, they are also allowed to use FMLA to have time to bond with their new child and to go through the adoption process.

Military Related

Employers are required to provide time off for employees who are serving in the military. This could include actually being deployed overseas or training exercises that surface from time to time. This type of leave falls under an entirely different law than FMLA. Employees who are in the military are able to have unlimited leave when it comes to the military and must be allowed to return to their jobs after their training or service has concluded.

While they are not unlimited, there are also certain specifications provided for spouses of those in the military. Under FMLA, spouses are also able to take off time when their spouse is deployed or returns home from active service. This includes time to care for them if they become injured during their time in the military.


If an employee is requested to serve for jury duty or when an election is coming up, employers are usually required to offer their employees the opportunity to serve. For jury duty, this means giving the employee time off to serve as a member of a jury. This is actually a requirement by law for citizens, so this is expected of employers. Some states have even set up laws requiring employers to pay their employees when they are serving time for jury duty.

When voting in an election, it is generally expected that employees are provided sufficient time to vote. Typically, voting booths are open for extended hours, but some employees may need to come in a little later than normal or leave a little early to have time to vote.

These are just a few of the main leave requests that employees may have when they are a part of a company. It’s always best to plan for times when employees will need time off of work. To do this, make sure your company has a strong employee leave policy in place so that everyone is aware of what to expect. To understand more about this process, contact us today.

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