Jane Smith develops a sleep disorder and can no longer work her usual hours. Her doctor recommends that she negotiate a flexible job schedule with her manager.
But Jane’s employer won’t accommodate her medical needs. Slowly but surely, the company takes away her job duties until it’s “forced” to let her go due to lack of work.
That’s an example of why the federal Family and Medical Leave Act was signed into law—to help employees in Illinois and nationwide who find themselves in these types of situations.
Under the FMLA, eligible employees of covered employers can take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons, as regulated by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Eligible employees can take a total of 12 work weeks off in a 12-month period for reasons including:
- The birth of a child and providing care for the baby within one year of birth
- The adoption of a child or taking a child in under foster care and caring for that child within one year of placement
- Taking care of a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition
- A health condition that prevents the employee from performing the core functions of his or her job
Family of military service members get more time. An eligible employee whose spouse, child, parent or next of kin is in the military and has a serious injury or illness can take a total of 26 work weeks during a 12-month period to care for that service member.
Which employees are eligible and which employers are covered?
Not all employees are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act. To be eligible, they must:
- Work for a covered employer
- Have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months
- Work at a place in the United States or in any territory or possession of the country where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles of that place
States may have different eligibility requirements. Illinois is notoriously stringent. For example, employees in this state must be full-time to be eligible.
Employers covered under the FMLA include all public agencies, local schools and private-sector employers that have employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more work weeks during the current or preceding calendar year.
Call a Family and Medical Leave Act lawyer who knows the system
All too often, employers take advantage of their employees when they’re at their most vulnerable. We can take up your cause when you can’t.