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A Detailed Guide To Family And Medical Leave Act

Updated : June 12th, 2020

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a labor law that requires covered employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leaves to employees with no threat of job loss. The law was enacted in 1993 and aims at prioritizing the health and family of employees while protecting their jobs. 

Not all employers need to adhere to FMLA law. Employers with more than 50 employees, all public agencies such as state, federal, and local employers, and schools must comply with FMLA rules. 

What Does FMLA Cover?

Under FMLA law, employers must provide eligible workers with 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a year. These leaves need not be consecutive. The employer must also give the employee his/her position back after the leave. If the job is unavailable, then the employee must offer him/her another position with equivalent benefits and pay. During the leave period, the employer must still provide health insurance benefits.

Who Qualifies For Family And Medical Leave Act?

To qualify for the Family And Medical Leave Act, an employee must meet several eligibility requirements such as:

  1. The employee must have worked at least for 12 months for his/her employer
  2. The employee must have worked minimum 1,250 hours over the 12 months 
  3. The employee must work at a worksite where the 50 or more workers are employed by the company or within 75 miles from the worksite 

Under the Family And Medical Leave Act employers will grant unpaid leave for one or more following reasons:

  • An employee is unable to perform his/her duties due to severe health conditions
  • An employee is giving care to spouse, children, or parent who has serious health conditions
  • An employee wants to care for a child after birth
  • An employee is providing care to an adopted child or child in foster care
  • An employee is dealing with emergencies concerning family member’s military activities

FMLA law applies to mothers as well as fathers, and also same-sex spouses. 

Advance Notice and Medical Certification

Some companies may require their employees to provide 30 days advance leave notice and if the leaves are foreseeable. Employers may also require employees to provide certification and second or third opinions in case of serious health conditions. The employee must respond to the employers within 15 days of the request or provide the required certification. Failure or delay in giving certification may lead to the denial of continuation of leave. 

Employees can collect medical certification using the Department Of Labor Certification (DOL) of Health Care Provider in case of a family member’s serious health conditions.

Procedure for Requesting FMLA Leave

Employees can request leave under the Family And Medical Leave Act either verbally or in the written form. Within 5 business days after asking leave, the Human Resource (HR) manager will complete and provide the DOL Notice of Eligibility and Rights.

As said earlier, the employee must provide 30 days’ notice if the need for the leave is foreseeable. However, in case of unforeseeable leaves, the employee must comply with the company’s customary and usual notice and procedural requirements for requesting FMLA leave.

Will You Be Paid While On FMLA leave?

FMLA doesn’t guarantee paid leave. However, an employee can choose to use his/her paid leave. Companies may require the employee to use paid leave under the FMLA Act until they provide the employee with the proper notification.

Final Words

FMLA law allows employees to take off from their work and take care of themselves or their family members. Some employers may not provide FMLA leaves but may offer other benefits like disability insurance, paid maternity leave, etc. For more details on Family And Maternity Leave, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla

 

 

 

 

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