Family Medical Leave Act

Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is a federal law that allows eligible workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for themselves or a family member. FMLA leave does not need to be taken consecutively, you may take intermittent leave from time to time. FMLA also requires health insurance benefits be maintained during the leave.

Who Is Covered?

Basically, there are 2 questions lawyers ask when determining if a worker is covered under FMLA.

  1. Have you worked for your employer for at least 1 year before requesting leave?.
  2. Do you work at a location where your employer employs 50 or more employees?

If you answered Yes to both of the above questions you work for a covered employer and are eligible for qualified FMLA leave. Employees of government agencies and public schools are eligible for FMLA leave regardless of the number of other employees in the area.

Serious Health Condition

FMLA provides 12-weeks of unpaid leave to care for themselves or a family member for a “serious health condition.” This means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility or continuing treatment by a doctor for a period of more than 3 consecutive days. Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy or for prenatal care is considered a “serious health condition” under FMLA.

Conditions for cosmetic treatments like plastic surgery is not considered serious health conditions unless inpatient hospital care is required or unless complications develop. Again, unless complications arise, the common cold, the flu, earaches, upset stomach, minor ulcers, headaches, routine dental problems, are examples of conditions that do not meet the definition of a serious health condition and do not qualify a worker for FMLA leave.

Notice Requirement

Under FMLA you give “proper notice” to your employer of your need for FMLA leave if you notify your employer of your need for leave in a timely manner and in a way that alerts your employer that your absence might qualify as FMLA leave – even if you did not expressly mention FMLA.

If you knew of the need for leave more than 30 days before leave was to begin you are required to give your employer at least 30 days advanced notice before leave was to begin. If you knew of the need for leave less than 30 days before the leave was to begin, you are required to give your employer notice as soon as was reasonably possible.

More Information

It’s important that you contact a FMLA lawyer as soon as possible so you don’t miss any important deadlines. You should also contact a FMLA lawyer if you feel you’re confused bout providing proper notice to your employer.

7.8Micah J Longo
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