Time Off for Medical and Family Matters
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993 to provide certain employees with the right to take time off to obtain medical treatment, give birth or care for a sick loved one. During the leave period, the worker’s job is protected and the employer is required to maintain the employee’s health insurance under the same terms as if he or she were continually employed. The FMLA statute is intended to help employees appropriately balance work and family life.
FMLA Worker Eligibility
To be eligible for FMLA benefits, a worker must have been employed by the covered employer for at least 12 months, which do not have to be consecutive, and have performed at least 1,150 hours of work for the employer within the immediately preceding 12 months.
The FMLA permits eligible workers of covered employers to take unpaid, protected leave for up to 12 workweeks within a 12 months period to:
- Give birth and to care for the newborn baby
- Adopt or foster a child and to take care of him or her
- Care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious injury or illness
- Take medical leave associated with the worker’s serious medical condition
- Deal with an emergency arising out of active military duty of the employee’s spouse, child or parent
In addition, the FMLA provides for military caregiver leave, which entitles the worker to up to 26 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period to care for a sick or injured servicemember who is a spouse, child, parent or other next of kin.
According to rules released by the Department of Labor in 2015, a same-sex spouse who otherwise qualifies is entitled to FMLA leave.
Smaller companies are generally exempt from the FMLA, although non-covered employers may still be held to laws governing leave for disabilities, pregnancy and their own internal leave policies.
FMLA covered employers include:
- Private sector businesses that employ 50 or more workers during 20 or more workweeks in the current or proceeding year, including successors in interest to a covered business and joint employers
- Federal, state or local government agencies, regardless of the number of workers employed
- Elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of workers employed
An employee must comply with the employer’s request for leave procedures and notice policies when requesting FMLA leave. For foreseeable causes, an employee must generally give 30 days notice. For exigent circumstances that were not foreseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as possible. These provisions help to minimize disruption of the business.
Learn about the FMLA Provisions
Gunterfirm assists business with FMLA compliance and helps employees who are entitled to Family and Medical Leave Act benefits. Call our Naples/ Fort Myers employment and labor lawyer at 239.334.7017 or contact our law firm online to learn more about leave rights and obligations at your free initial consultation.