The federal Family Medical Leave Act allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. The FMLA guarantees the employee benefits during the leave and job protection when they return. Employees may take leave under the FMLA for the birth or adoption of a child, a serious health condition, or an immediate family member’s serious health condition. The leave can be taken intermittently, meaning a few days or hours at a time, or in the form of a reduced schedule.
The FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. For an employee to qualify for leave, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours. When possible, the employee must ask for the leave 30-days in advance and provide sufficient medical information. While the FMLA applies to the federal government as well as to private employers, the rules implementing the FMLA are slightly different for federal employees.
Some state and local laws may expand family medical leave coverage to additional categories of employees and employers outside of the FMLA.
A service member’s active duty can put stresses on family members. The FMLA helps by allowing family members to take leave for several active service situations, such as short-notice deployment, military events and related activities, parental care, childcare and school events, counseling, and time-off when the service member is on R&R.The FMLA also gives protections to close family when a service member is called to active duty. Family members may be entitled to 26 weeks to care for a service member who suffers a service-connected illness or injury. The service member must have left uniformed service under honorable conditions and the injury must have happened within the 5-years prior to the leave start date.
Finally, the FMLA also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for taking FMLA leave and from interfering with an employee’s exercise of rights under the FMLA. There are different avenues for enforcement of FMLA violations depending on whether you are a federal or private sector employee.