Is your company compliant with the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. In addition to providing eligible employees with leave for qualifying reasons, covered employers must maintain employees’ health benefits during leave and restore employees to their same (or equivalent) jobs after the leave.
What Employees are Eligible?
An employee who works for a covered employer must meet three criteria in order to be eligible for FMLA leave. The employee must:
- Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months
- Have at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months before taking leave;* and
- Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite.
Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for the following reasons:
- The birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care
- To bond with a child (leave must be taken within 1 year of the child’s birth or placement)
- To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a qualifying serious health condition
- For the employee’s own qualifying serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job
- For qualifying exigencies related to the foreign deployment of a military member who is the employee’s spouse, child, or parent.
Once an employer becomes aware that an employee’s need for leave is for a reason that may qualify under the FMLA, the employer must notify the employee if he or she is eligible for FMLA leave and, if eligible, must also provide a notice of rights and responsibilities under the FMLA.
If the employee is not eligible, the employer must provide a reason for ineligibility. Employers must notify its employees if leave will be designated as FMLA leave, and if so, how much leave will be designated as FMLA leave.
Other Things to Know:
- An employee does not need to use leave in one block. When it is medically necessary or otherwise permitted, employees may take leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule.
- Generally, employees must give 30-days’ advance notice of the need for FMLA leave. If it is not possible to give 30-days’ notice, an employee must notify the employer as soon as possible and, generally, follow the employer’s usual procedures.
This checklist outlines key steps for employers to comply with the FMLA. Keep in mind that complying with the FMLA may involve additional steps depending on the facts of a specific situation. Also, many states (and some localities) have their own family and medical leave laws that provide broader leave protections to employees. Employers will need to comply with the FMLA and any applicable state and local leave laws.