Better known as FMLA, the Family and Medical Leave Act was designed to handle the conflict between an employee’s desire to take care of family responsibilities without putting their job in jeopardy. The FMLA set guidelines for employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months, which entitles them to protection under the act.
What FMLA Covers
For those who are eligible, the FMLA means that employees can receive up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period and not be terminated by their employer. The act means that employers must reinstate the person who took the leave to their original or elevated position in the company.
The leave is unpaid, which means that employers are not on the hook to pay the employee for the time they take off under the law. However, they must be reinstated to a position that is considered the same or better than the one they left.
What is Covered?
There are certain guidelines that cover the reasons you have for taking off time from work under FMLA. The following list includes, but does not necessarily cover all the reasons that qualify under the law.
- Preparing for the birth of a child
- Taking care of a newborn
- Adoption or foster care placement of child
- Taking care of a yourself, spouse, child, or parent that suffers from a serious health ailment
- Transition of yourself or spouse to active military duty
For those who are suffering under a medical condition, certification of the illness or injury may be required from a physician for verification purposes.
Who is Eligible?
To take advantage of what FMLA has to offer, you must meet the following criteria;
- Employed by same company for at least 12 months
- Worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months
- Employer must employ at least 50 people within 75 miles of worksite
The last eligibility requirement means that the company you work for must have at least 50 employees hired, otherwise it does not qualify under FMLA. You will need to check first to see if you are eligible before attempting to use FMLA to cover your leave.
The 1,250 hours refers to the time that is worked by the employee and does not cover sick days, holidays, vacation days, or other days in which the employee has not worked. The “50 or over” rule for the number of employees that work within 75 miles of each other does not apply to federal or state agencies. In fact, most, if not almost all federal employees qualify for FMLA, but please check first to ensure that you are eligible.
Keep in mind that the 12 months of employment are not necessarily consecutive, meaning that the time may occur over a longer period. However, the breaks in employment cannot be spread out for more than seven years at a time. The Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to provide employees with a means of taking care of a temporary situation without putting their employment in jeopardy. Please check with your employer about other potential coverage along with FMLA if you need to take time off.