Family medical leave act (FMLA) is a federal law which enables the employee to take a time off in certain situations. FMLA allows the covered employers to provide the eligible employees with an unpaid but job-protected leave. The law aims to help employees to balance their work and family responsibilities. It also aims to promote equal employment opportunities both for men and women.
Who can benefit from FMLA
All public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, companies comprised of 50 and more employees can take the advantages of FMLA. The mentioned employers should provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to the eligible employee. The leave is granted to the employees who have worked for the company at least 12 month (1 year) or 1250 hours.
Family medical leave act coverage
FMLA covers the situations as such:
- Childbirth and its care
- When the employee adopts a child
- The employee’s close family members: spouse, registered domestic partner, child or parent has serious health concerns
- The employee himself has serious health problems unable to deal with the job properly
- He/she has to care for a spouse, child, parent or any next of kin who is an ongoing member of Armed forces and get the illness while in service duty.
Depending on the situation, the leave may be continuous, full-time or on a reduced schedule. When the employee wants to take a leave, he/she should consult with a supervisor to schedule the treatment in a way not to disrupt the work in the department.
You as an employee may consult an attorney who will help you get information about your rights under FMLA. When you return after the leave and feel that you are not treated the same way as before, or you are fired or your position is changed to the lower one, you should apply to the attorney.
May I ask, attorney?
There are a huge number of questions you may ask your attorney regarding your FMLA if you don’t know about its main terms and conditions. Of course, we can’t illustrate all of them, but these ones are necessary to know.
What is my job and benefit protection?
You must ask this question to know whether you continue to have your health insurance coverage while on leave or not. Through this question, you may get a thorough info whether you will take the same position after returning from the leave or not.
Is FMLA the same for all states?
You should ask this question especially if you have come from the different state. A number of states have their own family and medical leave laws. Sometimes it is possible to fall under a wider law which may even apply to smaller employers.
Paid or unpaid?
Each year certain employee may take an unpaid medical leave. You should be aware that the employer continues paying your health benefits while you are off. But there are 4 states where the leave is paid. In other states, the leave is mainly unpaid.
May I take a paternity leave under family medical leave act?
As a father of a newborn child, you have right to take a paternity leave as well to help your wife to care for the baby. Don’t hesitate to get thorough information about your rights from the attorney in this regard.
When can I submit a claim against my employer?
This is important for you to know your rights and responsibilities under family medical leave act. Sometimes the employer may misinterpret the law to deny your leave. This is an unlawful act which you can report.
What position will I take after returning?
This is a must knowledge for every employee who has ever taken a medical leave. Be sure to take the same position you had before leaving. The employer may reinstate you in a lower position which is a violation of a law.
What shall I do if my rights are violated?
You should ask this question to be able to restore your rights properly. Many employers may illegally deny your time away from work or even fire you after the leave. In such cases, you should consult with an attorney.
The employer has a right to reject the request for a leave when the employee is a part-time worker, he/she asks for a leave to take care of a relative other than a parent, or a sick pet etc.
Each eligible employee who meets all requirements of family medical leave act has right to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain medical reasons. Don’t let the employer violate your rights.