Family Medical Leave Act
What is FMLA?
Enacted in 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows certain public and private sector employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave without the fear of being fired or worrying about whether the job would still be there when they returned to work.
If you are eligible for FMLA, your employer must notify you of your right to take leave, must continue to pay your health insurance, cannot hold your leave against you, and must allow you to return to the same or a similar job. In one year, you can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave either all at once or as needed.
Who Is Eligible?
With a few exceptions, an employee is generally eligible for FMLA benefits if all of the below apply. The employee must…
- work for a covered employer;
- work in a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius;
- have worked for this employer for at least 12 months; and
- have worked at least 1,250 hours in the preceding 12-month period.
What Situations Qualify For FMLA Leave?
The law requires that employers grant an employee FMLA leave for specified reasons:
- the addition of a child through birth, adoption or foster care;
- the serious health condition of a parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partnership or self;
- the active duty leave of a child, spouse or parent who is a member of the Armed Forces; or
- caretaking for a service member with a serious injury or illness, when the service member is a spouse, child, parent or next of kin.
How Much Time Does FMLA Cover?
Federal FMLA law guarantees eligible employees up to twelve workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. Workers can take FMLA leave all at once, or intermittently, depending on the circumstances.
Employees that need to care for military service members with serious injuries or illness can take up to 26 weeks of leave in a year.
Know Your Rights
Your employer cannot interfere with your right to take FMLA leave, but you must provide enough information and appropriate notice to your employer. You are not required to disclose personal health information like your diagnosis. Problems often arise due to a breakdown in communication. If you need to get FMLA protection in place, if you feel that your employer is interfering with your right to take FMLA, or if you are being retaliated for using FMLA, don’t wait to call us. We will guide you through the process and educate you about your rights in your specific situation.
The experienced employment attorneys at Livelihood Law are happy to discuss your rights and options.