The Family Military Leave Act provides guaranteed unpaid leave for the employees of qualifying employers, with a protected right of return and protection of employment benefits during the leave. But, what is the definition of a covered employee and what is the definition of an employer?
An “employer” is defined as “any person, partnership, corporation, association or other business entity,” including “the State of Illinois, municipalities and other units of local government.” 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 151/5 (2007). Only employers with 15 or more employees are required to extend leave. 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 151/10(a, b). Employers with between 15 and 50 employees are required to provide up to 15 days of leave, and employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide up to 30 days of leave. 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 151/10(a, b).
The Family Military Leave Act is very broad in its definition of who is a covered “employee,” specifically including independent contractors. 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. 151/5. The definition of “employee” requires that an individual have been employed by that employer from whom leave is sought for at least 1,250 work hours during the immediately preceding 12 months. Id. Lastly, the leave entitlement is extended only to the “spouse or parent of a person called to military service lasting longer than 30 days with the State or United States pursuant to the orders of the Governor or the President of the United States.” Id. (emphasis added).
So how do you take leave under this Act? Stay tuned to Part II of this discussion and learn what additional proof that you need to verify the leave and what employee benefits and protections apply.