Eligible employees of covered employers are entitled to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Federal law, known as the Family Medical Leave Act (or “FMLA”) provides for such protected leave. During this leave, group health insurance coverage will continue under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
Do I qualify for FMLA?
Unfortunately, not all employees are eligible for FMLA protection. Eligibility is based on factors involving the length of employment, hours worked, the size of the employer, and the geographic location of the firm’s employees.
The FMLA applies to all employers who are public agencies (including local, state, and federal employers) and private sector employers who employ at least 50 employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. Your employer may still be required to follow FMLA rules even if the original company you worked for merged or was replaced with another firm.
What does FMLA cover?
Eligible employees are entitled to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
- The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth
- The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement
- To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
- A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job
- Any qualifying need or demand arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on “covered active duty”
In addition, eligible employees are entitled to 26 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
- The care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave)
What if my employer denies my leave?
If you feel that your employer has violated your rights under the FMLA, consult an attorney as quickly as possible. Act quickly so you can get the leave you deserve so you can focus on your family.