Like most states, Indiana has not put expressly into law how private employers are to handle employee's request for leave due to medical reasons.
Since 1993, leave from work to take care of a personal or family medical issue has been covered at the federal level under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Under the FMLA in Indiana, workers who are qualified could take up to 12 weeks of leave for substantial health conditions, bonding with a new child, or handling issues related to a family member's military deployment. For workers who need to care for a family member injured on active military duty, the FMLA allows Indianans to take up to 26 weeks off across a 12-month period.
To be eligible for leave under the FMLA, an employee must have been employed by the eligible company for a minimum of one year, worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the past 12 months and work at an establishment with a minimum of 50 workers that all live within a 75-mile radius.
Family Military Leave in Indiana
While Indiana law doesn’t address medical leave, state laws do address leave for family-military reasons.
According to state law, those working in the state for a company with 50 or more workers, the company must give up to 10 days of unpaid leave to workers who want to pay a visit to family members in military service. For the purposes of the law, ‘family member’ includes a husband or wife, parent, guardian or custodian, grandparent or sibling.
This type of “Indiana FMLA” must take place in the 30 days prior to active duty, in a period that the person is on leave, but on active duty or during the 30 days right after active duty concludes.
According to Indiana/FMLA laws, a worker must already worked for a minimum of 12 months and have put in at least 1,500 hours at the company over the past 12-month period, to qualify for this kind of family-military leave. Workers, who qualify might take any offered and earned accrued, paid leave, other than paid medical or sick leave for the ten days available under the Indiana FMLA laws.
When applying to take Indiana FMLA leave, workers must give their company a minimum of 30 days' notice before to the starting date of the requested leave, except if active duty orders for the family member are given suddenly and do not allow for it. A company can ask the employee for documentation showing eligibility for family-military leave.
Indiana/FMLA Laws for the Public Sector
Indiana does provide family-leave regulations for state employees in addition to protections afforded under the FMLA. State employees can use accumulated sick leave for an illness or injury in the worker's "immediate family" – considered a spouse, child, or parent is reliant on the worker for care and support. The family member’s illness must be severe enough that it requires the employee to be absent from work. A worker may be asked to submit mandatory verification from the attending medical practitioner, or possibly a different physician paid for by the state agency.
Public sector employees are looking to take leave need to submit their request a minimum of 30 days before the leave period as dictated by the FMLA. If this is not realistic, the request should be sent on the same day or next business day of finding out the need for leave. Paperwork corroborating the need for expected leave must be presented ahead of the beginning of the leave, and no later than 15 calendar days after notice of the necessity for leave. The initial request can be oral but must be followed up with paperwork.
Under the FMLA in Indiana, any public or private sector employee, can take intermittent leave on a decreased schedule, but there must be a medical need for leave, as described by a doctor. Treatment routines and other details described in the validation of a severe health condition must satisfy the medical need for leave on a decreased schedule or for intermittent leave. Workers needing intermittent leave or a decreased schedule should try to schedule their leave so as not to affect the employer's operations. In addition, a company may allocate a worker to a different position with equal benefits and pay that better fits the worker's intermittent leave or decreased schedule due to scheduled medical treatment.
Maintaining Health Benefits
A company must retain the worker's health insurance coverage as if the worker had been continuously employed during the course of the leave period, under the FMLA in Indiana. Hence, the company must inform the insurance carriers anytime a worker is protected by approved FMLA/Indiana leave, but not being paid for a whole pay period. After such notice, the insurance company might bill the worker for their portion of the premium, which the worker would have been responsible had they not taken leave.
According to Indiana/FMLA laws, it is the worker's obligation to pay the provider if they want to preserve coverage. Once the insurance carrier informs the company that the worker has paid his/her portion of the premium, then the company is required to pay its share of the premium.
Returning from Indiana/FMLA Leave
If an employee takes FMLA leave time, they can come back to the job that they had before the leave started, or to a job that is equivalent in benefits, pay, and other working conditions.
A worker cannot suffer a loss of any benefits that they had earned prior to taking time off, such as, seniority and vacation time. However, if a worker takes FMLA leave time, their company can make them use up accrued paid time off as part of their FMLA leave.
An employee may be able to sue their employer for money and/or to get a job back in the case that either gets denied. An employee could also be awarded court costs and attorney’s fees. If an employee confronts this situation, they could contact a private attorney or government labor officials.
To avoid any legal hassles and facilitate sifting through the particulars of Indiana/FMLA laws, employers, organizations and state agencies should consider looking to Qcera for medical leave-relate solutions. Qcera has a range of products available for employers that keep them up to date with the many laws and regulations. Everything backed by around the clock service from company experts.