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What Type of Employee Can Qualify for FMLA Protections?

Posted by Kathy Harrington-Sullivan | Dec 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a way for employees to balance their work and family responsibilities. It requires employers to provide employees experiencing certain qualifying circumstances with unpaid, job-protected leave. FMLA is designed to promote job and family stability as well as further the nation's interest in preserving the families of America. Are you covered by FMLA? Which employees can qualify for FMLA protections?

The first step in determining if you, as an employee, are eligible for FMLA protection is to deterimine whether your employer qualifies for FMLA coverage. FMLA applies to:

  • Employers in the private sector that
    • engage in commerce or any industry/activity affecting commerce,
    • have 50 or more employees, and
    • employees in question worked at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or the preceding calendar year.


  • All public agencies (both state and local governments), local education agencies (public and private schools).


  • Most Federal employers with employees subject to regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management.

If you work for a covered employer and you are interested in FMLA leave, you can determine if you are eligible using the following standard criteria for eligibility:

  • You must:
    • work within 75 miles of a location where the employer employs at least 50 people,
    • be employed for least a year (the year does not have to be consecutive).
    • work a minimum of 1,250 hours in the year immediately prior to the FMLA leave start date.

If there was a break in employment of seven or more years, the employer isn't required to count it unless there was a written agreement in place to rehire the employee, or the break was due to military service in the National Guard or Reserves.

If you aren't sure if you will be eligible to qualify for FMLA leave when you need it, get in touch with an experienced FMLA Attorney at Atlanta's Barrett & Farahany. We can help you understand the law and your rights as an employee.

About the Author

Kathy Harrington-Sullivan

Kathy Harrington Sullivan is a Partner at Barrett & Farahany who helps potential clients understand the law, clarify their rights, and determine which steps they can take to protect themselves and their jobs.


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When you reach out to us, you will receive a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled Atlanta employment attorneys. During our initial consultation with you, we can help you to better understand your rights and will work with you to determine what course of action is in your best interest. We take great pride in providing assistance based on years of experience negotiating and litigating employment matters to protect employee interests. If you find yourself in need of dedicated legal representation, we are prepared to advocate on your behalf – our goal is always to protect employee victims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.