Everything You Need to Know About FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles employees to have paid family or medical leave as long as they are qualified. An employee is eligible if they fit the following conditions. This includes working for a covered employer for at least 12 months, have completed at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer throughout the 12 months before the FMLA leave begins, and works at a place where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of one another.

Covered employers under the FMLA include:

  • private-sector employers who employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in either the current calendar year or previous calendar year,
  • public agencies including Federal, State, and local government employers, regardless of the number of employees), and
  • local educational agencies including public school boards, public elementary and secondary schools, and private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees.

Overview of the Family Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a United States labor law that requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. It was first published on 5th February 1993 and enacted by the 103rd United States Congress.

What it Means for Employers/Employees

This act permits eligible employees to take unpaid leave for personal medical reasons or to take care of family members.

What do Employees Gain From the Act?

Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter.

What is the Employer’s Obligation?

Employers must provide a written Rights and Responsibilities Notice each time the employer provides an eligible employee the Eligibility Notice, within five business days of knowing the employee’s need for leave. If the employee’s leave has already started, the Rights and Responsibilities Notice should be mailed to the employee’s address. The Rights and Responsibilities Notice describes the expectations and obligations of the employee relating to his or her FMLA leave.

How Employers Must Comply With the Act

As well as providing eligible employees the entitlement to leave, the FMLA requires that employers keep up employees’ health benefits during their leave and provide the employees with the same or an equivalent job after the leave has come to an end.

Employers may have the right to require certification from an employee proving their entitlement to FMLA leave in certain circumstances. However, the law does protect employees from interference and retaliation when exercising or trying to exercise their rights according to the FMLA.

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