The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 regulates employment in the United States. Its main provisions include defining the workweek at 40 hours in any given seven-day period, establishing minimum wage and overtime standards, regulating child labor, and mandating employer recordkeeping obligations.
As a result of the FLSA, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was given broad powers in regulating employment in the 50 states, though only Congress can establish the minimum wage rate, which currently stands nationally at $7.25 an hour. States are allowed to exceed federal standards, and Ohio’s 2021 minimum wage rate is set at $8.80 an hour.
On the subject of vacation, sick leave, and time off in general, the FLSA is silent, leaving those issues mostly to the states. However, the federal government has established nationwide leave policies twice.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993, followed the very next year by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
If you’re an employee in or around Dayton, Ohio, and you believe you have been denied your rights under either of these laws or other time-off rights granted by the state or federal government, contact Duwel Law. As employment law attorneys, we will listen to your story, investigate your situation, and advise you of your options going forward.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants employees in qualifying businesses the right to take up to 12 unpaid, job-protected weeks of leave to care for themselves or a family member. The statute specifically allows leave to care for your own medical needs, the medical needs of a family member, the adoption of a child, and the birth and care of a newborn child.
To qualify for the leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, and during the preceding 12 months logged at least 1,250 hours of service. For certain industries that are seasonal, for instance, the 12 months do not have to be consecutive.
The employee must also work for an employer who has 50 or more employees on the rolls within a 75-mile radius. Thus, for instance, a single-owned fast-food chain with 50-plus employees within 75 miles of each other is subject to the FMLA. For state and federal entities, there is no employee threshold.
In 2009, the FMLA was amended to include Military Family Leave. If a son, daughter, spouse, or parent is notified of an impending deployment, and if you qualify under the above standards, you can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave. If a spouse, parent, son, daughter, or next-of-kin is seriously injured or falls seriously ill while in the military, you can take up to 26 weeks to care for that person.
At the end of your leave period, the FMLA requires that you be returned to your previous position or one similar in pay, benefits, and responsibilities.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is not so much a leave program as a protection of servicemembers’ rights before and after military service.
If, for instance, you’re employed and also a member of the National Guard, the Army, the Navy Reserve, or another branch of service, and you’re called up for deployment, when you return and request reemployment, you must be hired back. You have 14 days to request reemployment if your absence was 180 days or less, and 90 days if your absence was more than 180 days.
The USERRA also protects servicemembers from discrimination in hiring, promotion, salary, and bonuses. Discipline against an employee for being called to service is also prohibited.
Ohio has no laws on the books mandating any vacation, sick leave, holiday observance, extra pay for working on holidays, bereavement, or any other type of leave from work. However, an employer cannot take any adverse action on an employee who is called to jury duty. Likewise, an employer cannot punish an employer for taking a reasonable amount of time off to vote.
If an employer voluntarily chooses to implement vacation and sick days, they should post and distribute their policies so employees understand. For instance, an employer can – if they put it in writing – require employees to “use it or lose it” when it comes to vacation days.
If you’re an employee in Ohio and you feel you’ve been denied your rights under the FMLA or USERRA or the state provisions for voting and jury duty, contact Duwel Law immediately. We can advise you on your legal rights and your options for redressing any wrong done to you. We proudly serve clients in Dayton and throughout Montgomery County, Miami County, Greene County, Darke County, and Warren County.