Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law designed to help workers balance job and family responsibilities by giving eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for specific reasons, including a serious health condition or to care for a newborn or family member with a serious health condition.
The FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees at a single location or at multiple work sites within a 75-mile radius.
An employee becomes eligible for FMLA unpaid leave after having worked 12 months for an employer and having worked 1,250 hours before leave is needed. The FMLA also applies to public agencies and all private and public secondary and elementary schools.
An employee has a serious health condition within the meaning of the FMLA if he or she visits a doctor for treatment of the condition, which may be physical or mental, and the employee is unable to work because of the condition for more than three consecutive days. The FMLA’s definition of “serious health condition” is broader than the definition of a disability, encompassing pregnancy and many other physical and mental conditions. Generally, things like cosmetic surgery, colds, headaches and routine medical and dental care are not included.
If an employer is on notice that an employee who is requesting leave might have a serious health condition that might prevent him or her from performing his or her job, the employer has a duty to ask the employee to submit a medical certification from a health care provider to confirm or deny the existence of the condition.
An employee is not required to mention the FMLA when requesting leave from the employer, but may simply state that leave is needed. All that is necessary is that the employer have enough information to suggest that the employee might have a serious health condition.
We have extensive experience with federal employment laws so as to both protect the employer and ensure that the employee’s rights are being upheld. Contact us to discuss your situation involving the Family and Medical Leave Act.