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Do you get your same job back after taking medical leave?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave for certain family and medical situations in Minnesota if you work for an employer who is covered. According to the Department of Labor, during your unpaid medical leave, you are granted certain protections, including the continuance of your health insurance coverage. You also will have a job waiting for you when you return.

Although job restoration is part of the FMLA, it does not mean that you get the exact same job you had when you left. Your employer has the right to hire someone to take your place during your leave, and that person can continue on in that position once you return. However, you must be given an "equivalent job."

You must be provided with all benefits you had prior to your leave, even those legally allowed to be taken away during your leave. Unlike when you first start a job, you do not have to undergo any qualifying period to have these benefits restored.

Whether you have the same job or an equivalent one, you must have the same pay after your leave. If your previous position had unconditional bonuses or additional pay, then you are also entitled to that pay. You also will qualify for any bonuses and pay increases during your leave if these were also given to employees who had similar leave, such as those who took paid vacation or paid sick leave. Your location and other employment conditions must be as close as possible to the job you previously held prior to your leave.

Any new position you have must also provide the same opportunities for overtime and shift differentials as your previous position. However, if there were any changes to the company, such as a decrease in shifts or overtime, then you might not get the same shifts and/or overtime opportunities that you had. Additionally, you can be laid off if the employer can prove that any layoff had nothing to do with your leave and would have occurred regardless. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

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