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Basics of the Family and Medical Leave Act

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | Employment Law (Employee)

Many people in Central Pennsylvania know that there are some family commitments that require a person to be away from work for a considerable period of time. However, the worry for employees to take a long leave is job security. Fortunately, federal laws protect such employees through what we know as the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Leave under the FMLA

Per the provisions of the FMLA, certain employees are entitled to an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks under certain circumstances. During this period, the employee does not lose the job or the group health coverage. The purpose of the FMLA is to maintain the balance between professional and personal commitments for employees. For employers, the FMLA tries to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity.

According to the FMLA, an employee can avail leave of up to 12 weeks for any of the following reasons:

  • Birth and caring for a newborn child of an employee
  • Taking care of a child who’s adopted or if a child is placed in foster care
  • Caring for an immediate family member who is severely ill
  • Medical leave when an employee is suffering from a serious health condition

Eligibility for FMLA leave

There are certain eligibility criteria, though, when it comes to leave under the FMLA. The conditions are as follows:

  • The employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months.
  • The employee must have worked for at least 1,250 hours in these 12 months.
  • The employer should have a minimum of 50 employees within a radius of 75 miles.

It is also important to note that leave for pregnancy complications is counted against FMLA leave. Also, the 1,250 hours mentioned earlier is determined by the principles for determining compensable hours per the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Violations of the FMLA

Despite clear guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor, many incidents of violation of the FMLA have been reported in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Fortunately, the law protects those who have been wronged and in case someone is facing a situation where it appears that the FMLA has been violated, it may be a wise decision to seek professional help at the earliest.