The Family Medical Leave Act, commonly referred to as “FMLA,” was created to help employees balance their conflicting responsibilities of work and family life. However, not all employees are eligible for the benefits and protections the FMLA provides. To be eligible, both the employer and the individual employee must be covered under the FMLA.
All public agencies, all public and private elementary schools, and all companies with 50 or more employees are covered under the FMLA. Employees are covered under the FMLA if they have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1,250 hours during their last 12 months of employment, and work within 75 miles of the employer.
If both the employer and employee are covered under the FMLA, employers must provide an eligible employee up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid, job protected, and health benefit protected leave, for the following reasons:
- Birth and care of employee’s child, or placement of a child with employee through adoption of foster care;
- Need to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition; or
- Need to take personal medical leave when employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition.
Under the FMLA, “immediate family members” are the employee’s child, spouse, or parents. A “serious health condition” means “a) an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or b) continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.” 29 U.S.C. § 2611(11). “Continuing treatment by a healthcare provider” includes “a) a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive calendar days; b) any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or parental care; and/or c) any period of incapacity due to a chronic condition.” 29 C.F.R. § 825.114(2).
Unfortunately, employers sometimes violate an employee’s rights under the FMLA. Some of the most common employer violations of the FMLA include the following:
- Counting approved FMLA leave against the company’s absentee policy;
- Taking disciplinary action against an employee for using their FMLA benefits; and
- Terminating an employee during, or at the conclusion of, approved FMLA leave.
If you believe your rights under the FMLA have been violated, please contact Hankey Marks & Crider today to find out what rights may be available to you. You may also submit an online inquiry form by clicking on the “Employment Law” tab. All initial consultations are free, and cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay any attorney’s fees until your case is resolved.
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