The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA) provide you with the right to take job-protected leave with continued medical benefits when you need time off from work to care for yourself or a family member who is seriously ill, to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or to attend to the affairs of a family member who is called to active duty in the military.

You may be eligible for more generous leave provisions. Leave taken for FMLA-eligible reasons must run concurrently under FMLA, WFMLA, and other leave provisions available. The leave available under the various provisions is exhausted simultaneously.


In order to be eligible for family and medical leave, you need to work a specific number of hours during the year. For eligibility purposes, all State of Wisconsin agencies, including the University of Wisconsin System are considered one employer.


You must have worked for the State for at least:

  • 52 consecutive weeks; and
  • 1,000 hours during the preceding 52-week period. Paid leave used counts towards the 1,000 worked.


You must have worked for the State for at least:

  • 12 months (months do not need to be consecutive); and
  • 1,250 hours during the preceding 12-month period. Only actual hours worked count towards the 1,250 hours.

Eligibility for WFMLA and FMLA is determined by considering all hours worked up to your first day of leave.

Applying for FMLA

Once you know you need to take a leave of absence that will be covered by the Wisconsin and/or Federal Family and Medical Leave Acts, contact your human resources department so they can provide you the proper paperwork and determine how much paid leave you have available for use.

Additional Information

Effective January 1, 2016 W/FMLA leave entitlement is granted on a calendar year basis for all eligible employees.

If leave is taken for a child, a child is defined as a son or daughter who is biological, adopted, a foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward or a child of a person standing in loco parentis to the child. If you are in an in loco parentis relationship with a child, this means that you consider yourself to have a parental relationship to a child but you do not have a legal or biological relationship to the child.


Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Up to six weeks in a calendar for the birth or adoption of a child, to be used within 16 weeks of the birth or placement of that child (no more than one 6-week period per child).
  • Up to two weeks in a calendar year to care for a child, spouse, domestic partner, or parent (including parents of your spouse or domestic partner) with a serious health condition.
  • Up to two weeks in a calendar year for your own serious health condition.

Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Up to twelve weeks of leave in a calendar year for:
    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    • the placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a member of the active or reserve component of the Armed Forces and is on covered active duty or has been notified of a call to active duty in a foreign country or international waters; or
  • Up to twenty-six weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a current military service member or eligible veteran* with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the service member’s or veteran’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
    • Leave provisions to care for an injured or ill military service member are based on a rolling 12 month schedule.
    • In order to be eligible to take a FMLA-covered leave to care for a veteran, the veteran must have been honorably discharged within the 5-year period before the family member first takes military caregiver leave.
Intermittent Leave

An employee may take WFLMA or FMLA on a intermittent or reduced schedule basis. Only the amount of leave actually taken will count against leave entitlements. Reach out to your human resources contact for more information.

You may choose to take your W/FMLA leave as paid or unpaid. Your benefits and continuous service will be uninterrupted regardless of whether or not you take your W/FMLA paid or unpaid. If you take your W/FMLA as unpaid, you are responsible for the employee share of your benefit premiums.


Under WFMLA, you may elect to substitute any type of paid leave (for example, vacation, sick leave or personal holiday), even if you are typically not allowed to use that type of leave.


Under FMLA, you may elect to substitute paid leave only per the policies governing that type of leave.

When WFMLA and FMLA run concurrently, you may follow the leave substitutions provisions under WFMLA.

Every effort has been made to ensure this information is current and correct. Information on this page does not guarantee enrollment, benefits and/or the ability to make changes to your benefits.

Updated: 06/03/2024