For new mom with very ill baby, what are our FMLA and unemployment obligations?

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in Compensation and Benefits,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. A long-standing employee recently took FMLA leave to give birth, but her son has many medical complications. She exhausted her eligibility under our disability carrier and isn’t eligible for long-term disability because she herself is not disabled. We want her back, but she can’t commit to even 20 hours a week. What are our obligations under the FMLA, and would our employee be entitled to unemployment compensation if we terminate her?

A. Under the FMLA and Pennsylvania law, an eligible employee is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. She may be entitled to a reduced schedule under the FMLA to care for her son if she has FMLA time left. Once she exhausts her FMLA leave, you have no obligation under the FMLA to restore her to her job if she cannot return.  

Her eligibility for unemployment compensation depends on whether she would be considered to be “available” to work (which is required to be eligible for unemployment compensation) if she can no longer work the hours required for her job.

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