The Family and Medical Leave Act is a benefit to many employees and their families. There are certain life events that require additional family support, and it can be discouraging if those most important family members can’t be there. Fortunately, the FMLA steps in to fill those gaps. As a program intended to encourage stability in families throughout the nation, individuals are able to take part in job-protected leave for a variety of specific purposes. If you’re not sure how this all works, the following questions and answers might help to clear it up.
Who Is Covered Under FMLA?
There are some specific requirements attached to FMLA. For example, it only applies to employers who deal directly in commerce or an industry that affects commerce. The employer must have at least 50 employees that work 20 or more calendar weeks per year. Public and educational agencies are all included without the 50-employee requirement. If you work for a company that meets all the requirements, you have some specific criteria to meet as well. This includes:
- Working at a job site that is within 75 miles of other worksite locations in which your employer has at least 50 other employees.
- Having at least 1,250 work hours in the last 12 months.
- Having been employed for your employer for at least 12 months.
What Are Employees Entitled To?
As someone who qualifies for FMLA, you can take a job-protected leave of absence, though it will be unpaid, for certain family and medical situations. Employees are eligible for 12 workweeks of leave within a one-year timeframe for:
- The birth and care of his or her own child.
- The placement and care of an adopted or foster child.
- The care of a parent, child or spouse with a serious health issue.
- The care of him- or herself for a serious health issue that limits the ability to perform regular employment duties.
- Qualifying exigencies resulting from a parent, child or spouse on active duty or receiving an impending call to active duty.
The employee is also entitled to 26 workweeks of leave in a one-year period if needed to care for a parent, child or spouse of a service member.
Involving a Lawyer If Needed
When your family is placed in a tough situation, it’s nice to know you will still have a job when all is said and done. If this is a situation you’re in, and you feel your employer is not treating you fairly, contact a work injury lawyer, like from Hickey & Turim SC, to get him or her involved in your case.