Benefits Provided Under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Having security built into your job when unexpected or life-changing events occur, such as family medical emergencies or having a baby, is important to many individuals. Knowing your job will still be there when you return, ensures you continue to have a steady income. There has been increasing interest in improving paid and unpaid medical and family leave at the state level, and there are some laws in place at the federal level for this, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

Specifics of the Family and Medical Leave Act

The FMLA provides employees with unpaid leave and job protection for certain medical and family situations while maintaining health benefits throughout the time of leave. This applies to employees that are eligible and who work for employers who are “covered”. Entitlements include:

12 workweeks of leave over a one year period for situations such as:

  • Having a newborn baby and caring for them, or adopting or fostering a new child
  • Coming down with a serious health issue, causing you to be unable to do your job
  • Having to care for someone in your family (spouse, parent, child) who has a serious health issue
  • A “qualifying exigency” related to your spouse, child, or parent who is on covered active duty for the military

26 workweeks over a one year period:

To take care of a covered member of the military who is seriously injured or ill. To take this leave you must be this person’s close family member (spouse, child, parent, next of kin). The one year period for this type of leave is defined differently than the other reasons people take leave.

Covered Employers

Your employer is covered and can grant you this leave time if the business is in the private sector and employees at least 50 people; a public agency, no matter how many employees it has; or a public or private elementary or secondary school, no matter how many employees it has.

Eligible Employees

Aside from your situation having to be within the guidelines listed in this act, to be eligible you must have an employer who is covered by the act. You must also have been working for the employer for at least one year with a minimum of 1,250 hours worked in the previous 12 months before taking your leave. If you are an airline flight crew employee, there are special service hours that apply to you.

Is Your Leave Covered?

It’s important to know when you as an employee can legally take leave when these types of situations occur in life. Working with an experienced work injury lawyer can help you determine what you’re qualified for, and when your employer should be allowing you time off.