What is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)?
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, also known as FMLA, is a labor law that provides eligible employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave every year for specified medical and family reasons. Under the FMLA, group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions should be maintained during the leave as if the employee were not on leave. The FMLA also provides job protection where employees are entitled to return to their same job or an equivalent job after their leave.
The FMLA was signed into law on February 5, 1993, by President Bill Clinton. The FMLA has been amended several times to clarify definitions of family members who are covered.
Why is theFamily and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) important?
The FMLA is significant in providing a balance between the demands of work and the needs of families. Because of the FMLA, workers would not have to choose between family life and work life. For women, in particular, the FMLA gives them the help and recognition they need in fulfilling their role in the family while still having their careers. In the same way, the FMLA acknowledges the significance of men in fulfilling their role in the family in a caregiving capacity beyond the conventional role of being a breadwinner or financial provider. Overall, the FMLA promotes equal employment opportunity and support for all.
Who is in charge of theFamily and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) program?
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division takes charge of the FMLA program.
Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to all employers?
No, the FMLA does not apply to all employers. It applies to schools, local, state, and federal employers, and private sector employers who have 50 or more employees for at least twenty workweeks for the current or preceding year. These employees must work within 75 miles of the company’s main site. This means that the FMLA does not apply to employers who have less than 50 employees.
What are some examples of qualifying conditions to use FMLA leave?
The following are examples of qualifying conditions to take an FMLA leave:
Birth of a child, to bond with and care for the newborn child
Placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee
To take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition
Medical leave when the employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition
For qualifying exigencies due to the employee’s spouse, child, or parent being on covered active duty as a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Regular Armed Forces.
Furthermore, the FMLA also allows eligible employees unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 26 workweeks (in a “single 12-month period”) to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.
I am an employee and I want to use FMLA leave. Can I take it?
Before you request an FMLA leave, please check the following eligibility guidelines:
Your employer must be covered by the FMLA.
You must have worked 1,250 hours during the last 12 months before the start of your intended leave. Please note that the time you were on paid or unpaid leave is not counted in the 1,250 hours.
You work at a location where your employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
You must have worked for your employer for 12 months. The 12 months do not have to be consecutive. Employment within seven years can be counted.
How long can an employee take a leave under the FMLA?
The FMLA allows eligible employees to take a leave for a maximum of 12 weeks.
Can an employee take the leave intermittently or does it have to be all at once?
The employee does not have to take the 12 weeks all at once. Depending on the reason, the leave can be taken intermittently, usually when it is medically necessary. Intermittent means that the employee can take an FMLA leave in separate days for a single qualified reason. If needed, another option is to reduce the employee’s daily or weekly work schedule.
Can an employee use FMLA leave to care for a newborn child or the adoption of a child?
Yes, an eligible employee can take a leave under the FMLA to bond and care for their newborn child or adopted or foster child. However, the leave must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement of the child. If the employee needs to take the FMLA leave intermittently, it is up to the employer’s decision to approve it.
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