|I. Overview of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)|
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), 28 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., applies to most employers with fifty or more employees. The FMLA requires covered employers to grant up to twelve weeks of family and medical leave each year to eligible employees.
A. Which employers are covered by the FMLA?
A "covered" employer is one that employs fifty (50) or more employees each working day during each of twenty (20) or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including successor employers, schools, and public agencies.
B. Which employees are eligible to take FMLA leave?
In general, an employee is eligible to take FMLA leave if he or she has been employed by the employer for a minimum twelve (12) months total (current and prior employment) and if he or she has worked at least 1250 hours for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave. Note that the employee need not have worked for the employer for 12 consecutive months, as long as the 1250-hour requirement is met.
C. What are the legitimate reasons for taking FMLA leave?
An eligible employee may take family and medical leave (up to twelve weeks) only for one of the four following reasons:
D. What is the definition of a serious health condition?
There are six definitions of a serious health condition. A "serious health condition" is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves one of the following:
E. What is the employee's right to reinstatement?
Employers must reinstate employees who take FMLA leave to the prior position or to an equivalent position. An "equivalent position" is one with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment, without loss of accrued and unused benefits.
F. What benefits are employees entitled to under the FMLA?
Unpaid leave of absence of up to 12 week (usually). See section H below, as well as section V -F for a discussion of when an employee must be paid during FMLA leave.
G. What are intermittent leave and a reduced leave schedule?
Intermittent leave is FMLA leave taken periodically rather than in one. consecutive period of time. Examples are occasional days off due to severe migraine headaches, occasional mornings off for prenatal care, or periodic absences for chemotherapy treatments and recovery from such treatments.
H. Substitution of Paid Leave
Although FMLA leave is unpaid generally, an employer may choose to require employees to use up any paid leave they have accrued. The only limitation is that accrued leave may not be used for anything that it is not normally used for.
I. What certifications and verifications may the employer require?
Employers may require employees' health care providers to certify that the employee has a "serious health condition."
J. What is a "Violation" of the FMLA?
The FMLA prohibits interference with an employee's rights under the law. More specifically, the following actions or conduct by employers are considered to be "violations" of the FMLA:
K. What enforcement rights does the employee have if the employer violates the FMLA?
Employees who believe that their rights under the FMLA have been violated may:
Employers are required to post a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) notice about the FMLA in a conspicuous place where notices to employees and applicants are customarily posted.