Some Important Facts About the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most significant advances for families in the United States. While the FMLA has been in existence for three decades now, not all employees understand this law. In this article, we share some important facts about the Family and Medical Leave Act that you need to know about as an employee.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees must work for an employer covered under the FMLA. Who is a covered employer? Employers in the private sector are covered if they employ at least fifty employees in at least 20 workweeks in the present or past calendar year. All public agencies are covered under the FMLA regardless of the number of employees. Employees are entitled to FMLA leave if they have worked for a covered employer for no less than 12 months and have worked no less than 1,250 hours over the past twelve months. 

Reasons for Leave

The FMLA allows employees to take leave for the following reasons;

  • A serious medical issue that makes one unable to work
  • Caring for a spouse, parent, or child with a severe health condition
  • For a child’s birth and to care for the child
  • For adoption or foster placement of a child
  • Reasons related to a family member’s deployment
  • To take care of a service member or veteran with a serious disease or injury 

The following are some of the reasons for leave that are not covered under the FMLA;

  • Routine medical appointments or check-ups that do not involve a serious medical condition
  • Minor illnesses, such as a cold or flu
  • Parental involvement in school activities

Using FMLA Leave

While employees have the right to take leave under the FMLA, the leave is not unlimited. An eligible worker can take a maximum of twelve weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period except if the reason for the leave is to take care of a service member or veteran with a serious disease or injury. For military caregiver leave, eligible employees can take a maximum of two weeks of leave in a twelve-month period.

Intermittent Leave

An eligible employee can take FMLA leave in separate blocks of time. An employee does not have to take their leave all at once. With the intermittent leave schedule, an employee can take leave in separate increments for specific purposes. However, before an employee can use a leave intermittently to bond with a child, there must be an agreement between them and their employer.

Requesting FMLA Leave

An eligible employee is required to provide notice to the employer of their need for FMLA leave as soon as practicable. For instance, suppose you have a medical procedure in four weeks. In such a case, you should notify your employer that you will need to use FMLA leave as soon as the procedure is scheduled.

FMLA Protections

First, an employee who uses FMLA leave is entitled to return to the same or an equivalent position with the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions upon their return. Second, an employer must continue an employee’s health benefits when they are on FMLA leave.

Contact Us for More Information

Contact our qualified New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm for more information on the FMLA. 

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