The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a U.S. federal law created in 1993 that requires employers to give time off to their employees for qualified family and medical reasons. It also protects the employee’s job during the leave. Many people do not know the “ins and outs” of who can take leave until their own need arises. The FMLA is an employment benefit you should be familiar with – here are six things you should know.
What Does it Cover?
The FMLA provides for 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period should you need time off to deal with a serious health condition or to care for someone else with a serious health condition. The other person must be an immediate family member. Federal law defines immediate as parents, spouse, or children, but various states say a domestic partner, parent-in-law, grandparent, or sibling counts too. The other valid reasons for a leave are family military leave, pregnancy, adoption, and placement of a foster child.
Who is Eligible?
You have to have been with your employer for 12 months before you can request a FMLA leave and you have to have worked 1,250 hours in those 12 months. The company you work for has to employ at least 50 people who work in a 75-mile radius of the location.
Does Your Employer Offer Paid Leave?
If so, they may require you to use it concurrently with FMLA. Check your employee handbook to see your employer’s specific policy on applying paid time off to an FMLA leave.
Your Employment is Protected
You are guaranteed a job when you return from your leave – maybe not the exact same job, but one of equal position. If you left as a manager, you return as a manager, with the same benefits and terms of employment as before your leave.
Proof of the Serious Health Condition
Although it is not required by law, your employer is entitled to ask you to submit certification for your medical condition. Guidelines state that if the employer does not ask for certification for the medical condition at the time leave is requested, they have five days to do so. The employee then has 15 days from the time of the request to comply.
Extended Time Available for Military Members
If you request leave to take care of a covered member of the military, you are allowed 26 weeks leave in a single 12-month period if you are the person’s spouse, child, parent, or the nearest blood relative who has been granted legal custody of the military service person.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Workers Taking Family and Medical Leave
Federal law protects you if you need to take leave for family or medical reasons. Provisions of the FMLA can be complex and the South Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help you navigate the system as it applies to your case. For a free personal consultation call us at 215-569-1999 or complete our online contact form. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.