What is FMLA?
FMLA is short for the Family and Medical Leave Act and was developed in 1993 as federal law to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specified family and medical reasons. For example, common reasons that people take FMLA include situations such as:
- The birth or adoption of a child
- A serious health condition of the employee or an immediate family member
- Certain military-related purposes
FMLA is specific to the United States and does not apply to every employee in every situation. If you need representation you can find an employment lawyer in Phoenix to help determine your eligibility. During a period of FMLA leave, employers must maintain the employee’s health benefits and ensure that they can return to their same or equivalent position after the leave period. The goal of this type of leave is to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of employees who are facing significant life events or health challenges and promote a good work-life balance.
Understanding whether or not you are eligible for FMLA can sometimes be tricky. In addition, not every employer always follows the law or is correctly informed regarding FMLA laws and guidelines. Read this article to help determine your FMLA eligibility and discover other helpful information regarding the process.
Am I Covered by FMLA?
To be eligible for FMLA coverage, you must have worked for your current employer for at least twelve months, accumulating a minimum of 1,250 hours of service during the previous twelve-month timeframe. In addition, FMLA is only available through private-sector employers with fifty or more employees, public agencies, and public (or private) elementary or secondary schools.
If you’re not sure if you’re eligible or not, it is prudent to promptly consult your company’s HR department or review your employee handbook to gain a thorough understanding of their FMLA policies and practices. You must also outline and detail your reasons for needing potential leave so that it can be determined whether or not the situation is eligible.
Remember, FMLA only covers specific situations, including the birth or adoption of a child, the serious health condition of the employee or an immediate family member, or certain military-related reasons. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that FMLA leave is unpaid, though your employer must maintain your health benefits during the absence.
Once you’ve determined your need and eligibility, complete your necessary FMLA paperwork and provide medical documentation for serious health conditions, (if that is your reason for taking a leave of absence). Communicate your intentions to take FMLA leave to your employer in a professional and timely manner, as they may have certain notification requirements depending on company policy.
Need Help With Employment Law or Family Leave Protections?
During the FMLA process, consulting with HR or your employer directly is crucial for personalized guidance. Understanding your rights under FMLA is extremely important, so take your time and be sure you understand the process and eligibility requirements before proceeding.
Should you run into problems, have questions, or find yourself in a questionable legal situation, our friendly team of legal professionals is here to help with all things related to employment law and medical leave.