Understanding the FMLA

What is the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or the FMLA, is a set of federal laws that essentially protects employees from adverse employment action for qualified family or medical reasons. Designed “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families”, the FMLA allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave during a twelve month period of time in order to attend to one of the following events:

  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition
  • for the birth of a child, and to bond with the newborn child;
  • for the placement of an adoptive or foster child, and to bond with that child;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • for qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status as a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Regular Armed Forces.

Qualified Employees

An employee is qualified to take protected leave under the FMLA so long they meet the following requirements: (1) the employee has worked for the employer for at least twelve total months; (2) the employee worked at least 1250 hours during the twelve months prior to taking leave; and (3) the employer employs at least 50 employees at the employee’s worksite or within 75 miles of the worksite.

Additional Facts


In addition to the simple explanation of FMLA above, the act also contains the following notable provisions that you should be aware of:

  1. An employer may require that you obtain a certification of your serious health condition, or your immediate family member’s serious health condition.
  2. Intermittent leave, as opposed to consecutive leave, may be taken if medically necessary or if approved by an employer.
  3. When an employee returns from their FMLA leave, they must be returned to the same job or a “nearly identical” job.
  4. Employers can require that an employee exhaust their annual leave, or other accrued paid leave, for the unpaid FMLA leave.
  5. Employees must provide their employers with thirty days notice of their leave, if it is a foreseeable event. For unforeseen circumstances or emergencies, an employee must provide notice as soon as practicable.

Call Moss Bollinger to Fight For You

The FMLA provides you with job protection. If you have been terminated while on FMLA leave, contact an attorney immediately. Moss Bollinger is an employee rights law firm that fights for the legal rights of our clients. Courts take violations of the FMLA incredibly seriously and so do we. Call us. We work on a contingency basis and do not receive any money unless you do. Call the law firm of Moss Bollinger today at (866) 535-2994 for a free consultation or use our online form.

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