The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a U.S. labor law enacted in 1993 that requires employers to provide employees who meet specific requirement with unpaid leave and job protection for medical and family reasons that meet the guidelines.
There are specific qualifications for a worker to be eligible for FMLA. The employee must have worked for the company 12 months and during those 12 months, the employee must have worked 1,250 hours before requesting leave.
The company must have 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius to be required to adhere to the FMLA guidelines.
What Situations Qualify For FMLA Leave?
Not everyone will be eligible for FMLA leave and not all situations qualify for leave. There are several scenarios in which you may qualify for FMLA leave from your employer.
Here is a rundown of ways that you may qualify for leave:
- The birth of a new child – you may take leave within the child’s first year of birth
- The placement of a child by adoption or foster care – leave during the first year after placement
- Because you have a serious medical condition that requires treatment – this could be cancer, back surgery, depression, etc.
- A family member has a serious medical condition and you must help care for them – this could be a spouse, child, or parent
- Qualifying exigencies that result from the military deployment of an immediate family member, such as a parent, child, or spouse
- To provide care for a family member who has suffered a serious injury or illness that arises from their military service
Your employer can ask for certification, which is supporting documentation to confirm that one of these situations do apply to you and that you do qualify for FMLA leave.
You are required to give proper notice of your leave, and your employer does have some leeway in this situation. However, your employer cannot expect notice too far in advance.
If so, that could be an FMLA violation. As an example, if your baby is born prematurely, or if you given just a few days notice of an adoption being approved, then your employer should work with you.
When you are on FMLA leave, you can keep your medical insurance coverage you have through your employer.
You must pay the premiums, and if your premiums become 30 days past due, your employer must notify you and give you an additional 15 days before stopping your coverage.
Employers sometimes violate the FMLA. Sometimes these violations are intentional, but at other times, it could be because of a lack of understanding or because of a misinterpretation of the laws.
Your employer may not consider a serious illness as serious and qualifying. Your employer cannot discipline you for excessive absences by considering FMLA-qualified absences and using them against you.
Your employer must provide you with notices that pertain to your FMLA rights. If you qualify for FMLA leave and give proper notice, they cannot deny your request.
As an employee you don’t have to give notice just so long as you provide your employer with the supporting evidence and let them know that the leave is needed and the reason for requesting leave is covered by the FMLA.
How An Employment Law Attorney Could Help
If you have been denied FMLA leave and you qualify, or if you believe that your employer has violated the laws that pertain to the FMLA, you should speak with an employment law attorney who handles FMLA violations in your area. With the help of an attorney, you are much more likely to get your claim underway effectively and efficiently.
Your employment law attorney will review the details of your claim and will make sure that your rights are protected.
If you have been reprimanded for invoking your rights and asking for FMLA leave, your lawyer will work to see that any wrongs you experienced were properly corrected. Many employment law attorneys work on a contingency basis, so be sure to discuss the payment process when you retain a lawyer.
Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your situation and how you believe that your employer violated the FMLA today.
You are much more likely to succeed with your claim is you have legal representation that is knowledgeable with the laws and processes surrounding FMLA leave.