Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year, and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave.
In order to be eligible
Employees must have worked at least twelve months and at least 1250 hours within the previous twelve months to be eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employees are also entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave.
The FMLA applies to all:
- Public agencies
- All private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year- including joint employers and successors of covered employers
The FMLA also provides certain military family leave entitlements. Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for specified reasons related to certain military deployments of their family members. Additionally, they may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.
Employees can be absent from work up to twelve work weeks over a twelve-month period.
Employees can request leave under FMLA for the following reasons:
- The birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child within one year of the child’s birth or placement
- To care for an employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a qualified serious health condition
- For an employee’s own qualifying serious health condition that makes an employee unable to perform their job
- A qualifying situation that arises when an employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on "covered active duty"
- To care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if an employee is the service member's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave)
When it is medically necessary, an employee can request leave intermittently or a reduced work schedule under the FMLA. Intermittent leave is taken in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason. Intermittent leave can also be offered by establishing a reduced weekly or daily work schedule. When a planned medical treatment is necessary, an employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment to minimize disruptions to administrative or academic operation.
An employee on an approved FMLA leave is entitled to continue group health insurance coverage on the same terms as if they had continued to work. An employee returning from FMLA leave must be returned to their original or an equivalent. The FMLA only requires unpaid leave. However, the law permits an employee to elect, or the employer to require the employee, to use accrued paid vacation leave, paid sick or family leave for some or all of the FMLA leave period. An employee must follow the employer’s normal leave rules in order to substitute paid leave. When paid leave is used for an FMLA-covered reason, the leave is FMLA-protected.