Chicago FMLA Lawyer
Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an employmentlaw that is not directed at discrimination or harassment, but at making sure that employees do not lose their jobs because they may need totake medical leave for themselves, or to care for a family member. The FMLA allows qualified employees that are employed by qualified employers to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work, during a 12-month period. This time may be taken all at once, or taken as intermittently (as needed). Unlike discrimination and sexual harassment laws, the FMLA is more reliant upon whether the employer follows specific written guidelines, than the intent of the employer.
FMLA leave is unpaid leave. The law does not require that your employer pay you while you are off work. It protects your job for you. However, an employer may require that you use you’re your paid time off, such as vacation or sick time, concurrently with FMLA leave, meaning that although you are entitled to have your job back when you return from FMLA leave, you may have used all of your vacation and sick time, but will also receive some compensation while you are on FMLA leave.
For the FMLA to apply, there are certain requirements. The FMLA only applies to companies that have more than 50 employees, within 75 miles of each other. If you are working for a company that has less than 50 employees, you are not entitled to FMLA leave. Furthermore, if you work for a company that has more than 50 employees, but does not have 50 employees near you, you may also not be covered.
The law is designed to provide employees time to deal with medical crises, while at the same time allowing your employer tobe able to absorb the loss of the employee. For example, a small day care center may not be able to operate without one of its employees for 12 weeks, and may need to hire someone else in order to effectively run their business. Similarly, a gas station in a small town may be part of a larger company, but it still has to hire a replacement cashier because it is too far from the rest of the company’s employees for anyone to be able to fill in.
Not only does the employer have to meet certain requirements for the FMLA to apply, the employee must also meet certain requirements. , To earn Family and Medical Leave the employee must have worked for the employer for a minimum of 12 months, and worked at least 1250 hours within the prior 12 month period.
Finally, the Family and Medical Leave Act leave is limited to serious medical conditions. As a result, an employer can, and usually will, require an employee to provide a medical certification from a doctor that FMLA leave is necessary. In addition, having received the certification, the employer may also require the employee gets a second opinion from a doctor of the employer’s choice, which may also be at the employer’s cost. If the second doctor does not agree with the first, then a third opinion is typically sought from a mutually agreeable doctor, whose opinion is binding. FMLA leave can be used for necessary surgery, but the employee should generally request the leave and have it approved well in advance. As a result, an employee should discuss any possible need with an employer as soon as possible.
An employee who suffers from a chronic condition may take intermittent leave, or a day here or there, as necessary and is due to a flare up of their condition. In these circumstances, the leave may have to be requested upon the employee’s return, as well as the employer may require medical certification within 15 days.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a very complex law. Employers are required to have an FMLA policy that complies with the law. Due to the law’s complexity, many large employers have a person whose sole responsibility is to monitor the company’s compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Maduff & Maduff’s Chicago FMLA Attorneys have handled many FMLA claims, and can help you to understand your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you are being denied FMLA leave, if you have been fired for having taken approved FMLA leave, or was fired while on leave or immediately upon your return, we can help you pursue your claims.