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A Brief Introduction to FMLA

Sept. 19, 2018

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides an employee up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave each year with job reinstatement privileges. Accordingly, an employee is able to return to their same or equivalent job position after completion of their FLMA. This law also dictates that an employer that comes under the umbrella of FMLA also maintains health benefits for qualified workers. Employers are required by law to provide FMLA eligibility notice after requests for leave (or when they get information about qualifying reasons for leave) within 5 business days. The FMLA survey conducted by the United States Department of Labor revealed that 91% of employers that comply with FMLA had a positive effect on employee morale, absenteeism, and turnover.

FMLA Eligibility Requirements

There are three prerequisites that must be fulfilled by an employee in order to be eligible for FMLA. Firstly, an employee must have been working with company for at least 12 months. These 12-months of employment may not be consecutive; however, breaks more than 7 years or more are not counted as service period unless the break was based on a written agreement or military obligations. Secondly, an employee must have completed a minimum of 1,250 hours prior to the start of their leave. Finally, an individual must be working for an employer who employs 50 or more employees within a proximity of 75-mile radius of the worksite. However, public agencies such as state and federal governments are exempted from “50 employees” rule.

FMLA Coverage

The primary purpose of FMLA is providing a means for families to cater for personal and medical needs without jeopardizing their job security. Following are the reasons that may allow an employee to request FMLA:

  • To prepare for birth or to take care of a newborn child.

  • For placement of a child to a foster care or adoption center.

  • To take care of an immediate family member (parent, spouse, or child) with a serious health condition.

  • To take care of their own serious medical condition.

A medical certificate may be required in a case where an employee is suffering from a serious health condition, which may prevent them from performing their job.

In some instances, an employee may utilize their sick leaves or vacation as an alternative if they are not eligible for FMLA option. However, if you are entitled to FMLA and your employer does not approve your FMLA, you may consult an experienced and skillful employment lawyer. An employment attorney will help you to assert your rights and devise a claim against the non-compliant employer.

If you feel like you have been denied FMLA by your employer despite your eligibility or want to schedule a free consultation session with an experienced employment lawyer, contact the Law Office of Michael Smith.