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Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

What does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provide?

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 were continuing to work. Employees are also entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave.

The FMLA also provides certain military family leave entitlements. Eligible employees may take a 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.

What types of businesses/employers does the FMLA apply to?

The FMLA applies to many companies including: public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies such as schools. FMLA also applies to private sector employers, joint employers, and successors of covered employers who have 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Who can take FMLA leave?

To be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, an employee must:

  1. Work for a covered employer
  2. Have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave
  3. Work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles
  4. Have worked for the employer for 12 months. The 12 months of employment are not required to be consecutive in order for the employee to qualify for FMLA leave. In most cases, only employment within 7 years is counted unless the break in service is due to an employee’s fulfillment of military obligations, or governed by a collective bargaining agreement or other written agreements.

When can an eligible employee use FMLA leave?

These are some of the most common serious health conditions that qualify for FMLA leave:

  • Conditions requiring an overnight stay in a hospital or other medical care facility
  • Conditions that incapacitate (inability to attend work or school) you or your family member for more than 3 consecutive days, and have an ongoing medical treatment with either multiple appointments with a health care provider, or a single appointment and follow-up care such as prescription medication.
  • Chronic conditions that cause occasional periods when you or your family member are incapacitated and require treatment by a health care provider at least twice a year.
  • Pregnancy, including prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness, and medically required bed rest.

When can an eligible employee use FMLA leave?

From the United States Department of Labor

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Hospital Bed which may be reason to take FMLA leave