The Family Medical Leave Act, more commonly known by its acronym FMLA, is a labor law designed to provide certain rights to workers. Under the FMLA eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year without facing job loss threats. However, such leave can only be granted under certain circumstances as outlined by the FMLA, for instance, when:
- The employee cannot work because of a serious medical condition;
- The employee must care for an immediate family member who is suffering from a serious medical condition;
- The birth of an employee's child;
- The placement and/or care of an adopted or foster care child;
- Any qualifying situation which comes about due to the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent being a covered military member on “covered active duty”;
Furthermore, under the FMLA, an eligible employee who is a covered service member's spouse, child, parent, or next of kin may also take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave, in a single 12-month period, to care for the service member who is injured or ill.
Whom does the FMLA apply to?
The FMLA applies to all public agencies including state, federal, and local employers and schools. It also applies to private employers who have employed 50 or more employees for at least 20 work weeks during either the current or previous year. Furthermore, there are also specific criteria for determining which employees fall under the FMLA umbrella, as not all employees will be eligible. Therefore, the following are the criteria to receive FMLA benefits:
- the employee must work for a covered employer;
- the employee must have worked for the employer for a minimum of 12 months, and at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months;
- the employee's job must be at a location where at least 50 employees work, or within 75 miles of such a location.
The FMLA, thankfully, offers various protections to employees regarding their job status. To begin with, your employer is forbidden from interfering with or denying you the rights FMLA grants to you as an employee. While you are on FMLA leave your employer must continue your health insurance as if you were not on leave. Furthermore, you cannot be terminated for utilizing FMLA leave, as that is the exact purpose of this law; to help employees in their time of need without having to worry about losing their job. Under the FMLA, employers are also prohibited from using the FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment-related decisions like promotions, terminations, etc. Generally speaking, you must give 30 days notice to your employer. Once the employer is aware it must notify the employee whether he/she is eligible for FMLA leave.
Contact experienced FMLA attorneys today
If you have any questions about the Family Medical Leave Act or feel like your employee is interfering with your FMLA right, or targeting you, then you should reach out to the experienced Atlanta FMLA attorneys of Barrett & Farahany. Our team of lawyers is well versed in aspects of the FMLA and will work with you no matter your legal needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.