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Family Medical Leave Act


Family Medical Leave Act


Many employees face the challenge of balancing the demands of their job with the need to care for their family. The Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, was created in order to help employees who find themselves in this difficult position. The FMLA is a federal law that requires certain employers to allow their employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over the course of a 12 month period for a serious medical condition or to care for a family member. Leave can be in the form of a full time absence, a reduced work schedule, or intermittent leave depending on the situation.

Who Qualifies?

Not every employee is eligible for extended leave under the FMLA.

In order to qualify for this type of leave, you must:

  • Have been working at your current place of employment for at least 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours over that 12 month period; and
  • Work for an employer who employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite.
    • Example: A company with two worksites located ten miles apart with a combined total of 50 employees would be required to grant eligible employees at those worksites leave under the FMLA, but a company with two worksites located 100 miles apart with a combined total of 50 employees would not.

For What Purposes Can I Take Leave?

Employees are only entitled to leave under the FMLA for certain reasons. Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period for any of the following reasons:

  1. The birth of a child in order to care for him or her.
  2. The placement of a child in your home for adoption or foster care.
  3. Caring for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition.
  4. A serious health condition of yours that renders you unable to perform your job.
  5. Any “qualifying exigency” resulting from the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is covered on active duty in the Armed Forces.

There are many other provisions of the FMLA to consider if you are thinking about taking leave under this statute. For more information about FMLA leave, please consult an employment attorney.