FMLA or Family & Medical Leave Act is a federal act enacted more than three decades. Prior to the ratification of the act, people would lose their jobs whenever they were afflicted with a serious ailment which made them take more than a week off from work. Therefore, in order to protect the jobs of millions of employees, the FMLA was enacted which required employers across the USA to provide family and medical leave to their workers.
The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to allow their employees 12 weeks off from work in a 12-month period for a variety of reasons including childbirth and serious health conditions. Eligible employees can receive FMLA for:
Childbirth and to care of the child during the first year of his or her life.
To care for a newly placed adopted child for the first year of his/her life with a new family.
To cope with a serious ailment or health condition which makes the employee unable to carry out his or her mandated duties.
To take care of a close family member including spouse, parents or child suffering from a serious ailment.
To take care of a relative who is a service member with a severe injury which requires constant care.
A recent amendment in the FMLA final rule has changed the definition of spouse, making it possible for same-sex couples eligible to receive FMLA.
Companies with a minimum of 50 employees on their payroll are legally bound to abide by the FMLA. Employees must have worked for the company for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible to get an unpaid leave under the aforementioned act. In some instances, the number of hours the employee has worked are also considered in establishing their eligibility. In some circumstances, employers take advantage of their employees’ lack of knowledge regarding their legal rights and terminate them for taking unpaid leaves for more than 3-4 weeks. If your employer considers your break “too long” for any of the reasons stated above and has terminated your employment, then it is time to consult an experienced employment lawyer to defend your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.
If you feel like you have been subjected to wrongful termination by your employer or want to schedule a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer, contact the Law Office of Michael Smith.