What is the Family Medical Leave Act?

Family Medical Leave Act

Shortly into his first term, President Bill Clinton signed the Family Medical Leave Act into law; it became effective in August of 1993. This act, which is overseen by the US Department of Labor, protects the employee in the event that they have a qualifying medical or family emergency. While it is a great program, not all employers have to follow the rules exactly. Some smaller companies get more leeway than do the larger ones.

While many employees get some sort of paid sick leave, this act covers those that do not, or they go beyond their allotted leave time. The FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any given 12 month period. This leave is granted for qualified reasons including: family illness, family military leave, personal illness, pregnancy, adoption, or foster care placement. What the act does not cover is short-term illness, such as getting over the flu or a cold, those who leave to care for a seriously ill elderly relative (except for parents), or those who leave to care for a pet.

This act does have some stipulations and some leeway. New employees are often not covered, and most often have to have been at the business for at least 12 months (individual companies can lessen this waiting for their individual policies, but they may not lengthen the waiting period), and they must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months (that is about an average of 24 hours per week). Stipulations for the company are that have 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. Those with fewer are exempt from the policy (some individual states have lowered the threshold to as low as 15 employees).

The act allows individuals to take a leave of absence from their job, and be guaranteed that they will not only have a job when they return, but they will also be free from negative consequences as a result of that leave. There are a number of protections that come with the FMLA, including:

  • Maintenance of group health insurance
  • Restoration to the same position upon return to work
  • Protection of benefits while absent
  • Protection from employer retaliation
  • Many more

Contact Phillips Dayes

The FMLA is a great law that helps to ensure the employees have rights. And most employers are happy to follow the law and take care of their hard working employees. However, there are always some that decide to put their own interests first, and end up committing FMLA violations. When this happens, Phillips Dayes attorneys are ready to help you fight for your rights. If you have taken advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act provisions, and you have suffered retribution from your employer, you do not have to suffer. Contact a highly trained employment lawyer from today by filling out the contact form or by calling 1-800-917-4000 to schedule your free case review.