The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal program that allows employees to take unpaid time off for eligible reasons. There are often many questions when it comes to FMLA, such as the following:
Do I qualify for leave under FMLA?
FMLA is only offered to certain employees. In order for an employee to be eligible for FMLA, they must have:
- Worked for their employer for a minimum of one year.
- Worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the previous 12-months.
- The employer must have a minimum of 50 employees at the employee’s work location, or within 75 miles of that location.
What does FMLA provide?
FMLA grants eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specified reasons, including the following:
- The birth or bonding of a new child
- A serious health condition
- To care for an ill or injured family member
- To help care for a family member that was injured during active military service
- To prepare for a family member’s military service leave
Typically, an employee is entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period, but there are circumstances in which a person can take more. In the event that another family member was injured during active military duty, or the same family member was injured during another tour, an employee will qualify to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a single 12-month period.
What are the benefits of taking FMLA?
FMLA was created to benefit and protect the eligible employee. FMLA allows the employee to maintain her current health benefits while on leave, receive the same pay rate as she did while working, and be reinstated to her position upon return from leave.
Employees are also protected against retaliation from their employer in the event that they need to take FMLA.
Do I get paid when taking FMLA?
Employees may elect to use accrued paid leave, however, FMLA is not a guaranteed paid leave. Employers may require that an employee use her paid leave, including vacation and sick pay, but the employer must provide sufficient notification requiring that the employee must do so.
Can I be fired for taking FMLA?
You cannot be fired for taking FMLA, however, employers can deny reinstatement to “key” employees, which typically consist of salaried or highly paid employees. It is important to know that employers cannot interfere with your FMLA rights, and cannot use your taking leave into consideration when making decisions about promotions and terminations.
What should I do if I my FMLA rights have been violated?
If you feel that you have been unfairly denied FMLA leave, contact an employment law attorney immediately.
The employment attorneys at Maduff & Maduff specialize in a variety of employment law related issues – including FMLA rights as well as overtime and wage theft, discrimination, violation of civil rights. Contact us today if you need help.