Family Law

Family Medical Leave Act

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
It is a Federal Law that permits certain employees to take off up to 12 weeks of work with a guarantee of job restoration if the employee returns to work within the allotted time.

Who is eligible to take leave under the FMLA?
To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:  work for a covered employer;

  1. have worked for the employer for a total of at least 12 months;
  2. have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; and
  3. work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

Under what circumstances can an employee take leave under the Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid off of work during a 12 month period for one or more of the following:

  1. for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
  2. for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  3. to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  4. to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

What must an employer do while an employee is out on leave?

  1. While on leave, an employer must maintain an employee’s health benefits on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work.
  2. Upon returning from FMLA leave, an employer must restore the employee to either their original job, or to an equivalent job with the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Under what circumstances will I have a claim against my employer under the FMLA?

  1. The FMLA prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or denying an employee the right to exercise their rights under the act.
  2. The FMLA also prohibits an employer from discriminating/retaliating against an individual who and practice relating to the FMLA.
  3. Most cases arise when an employer refuses to allow an eligible employee leave under the Act.
  4. Many cases arise where an employer fails to notify an employee of their right to take leave under the Act when placed on notice of a qualifying leave.

What should I do if I feel that my rights under the FMLA have been violated?
The time limits to file these types of claims may be as short as 2 years. Therefore, if you feel that your employer has violated the FMLA, you should either contact an attorney who handles these types of claims or contact the United States Department of Labor. For more information about your rights under the FMLA please visit the Department of Labor Website or send an email to Melanie V. Miguel-Courtad.