At any time, a person in Wisconsin might find themselves needing to take time away from a job in order to tend to a personal or family matter. In some situations, such leave is provided under either the state or federal family and medical leave laws. While the concept of both laws is similar in that employees are guaranteed the right to take this time off for qualifying events without fear of losing their jobs, there are differences that people should understand.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 provides up to 12 weeks per year of time away from work to an employee. This may be used to care for a newborn or for a child recently adopted or accepted into a family as a foster child. It may also be used when an employee needs to care for an ill or injured parent, spouse or child or to attend to one’s own medical needs.

Employers with at least 50 employees are covered by the federal FMLA. Employees eligible to take this leave must have worked 12 or more months for their employer, although that time need not be in one consecutive 12-month period. In the 12 months prior to taking leave, at least 1,250 hours must have been worked.

The State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development explains that the state’s program provides for up to two weeks annually to be taken to care for an ill or injured person, including the employee. If the leave is related to a new child’s care whether by birth, adoption or foster placement, the employee may take up to six weeks per year.