Many employees are eligible to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, but they may not understand what criteria must be met in order to qualify.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FMLA is available to employees who work for public agencies and private employers with 50 or more employees. The employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months, including working 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the leave.
The employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year and is entitled to return to the same or an equivalent job when the leave is over. While the employer does not have to pay the employee during the leave, if he or she has group health benefits the employer must continue to provide that. The employee can also use accrued paid time off for some or all of the leave.
Qualifying conditions and notice
The employee is eligible to take FMLA for the birth of a child, for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, to take medical leave for him or herself and in situations where a family member is called to active duty with the military.
The employee must provide the employer with a 30-day advanced notice of the need for FMLA when it is possible to do so. When it is not, the employee must notify the employer as soon as possible, usually the same or next day.
It’s important that both employees and employers follow the FMLA regulations correctly. An experienced attorney can offer guidance and advice.