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Family Medical Leave Act

 What is it?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law which entitles eligible employees of to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. The FMLA also employers to return employees to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave.

Does FMLA protection apply to you?

The FMLA applies to all public agencies (schools, local, State, and Federal employers) and to all private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. 

In order for an employee to be eligible to take leave under the FMLA, they must:

  • work for a covered employer;
  • have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave;
  • work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and have worked for the employer for 12 months.
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What benefits are available under the FMLA?

Under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to:

(1) up to twelve workweeks of unpaid leave time in a 12-month period for the following:

  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • the birth of a child and/or 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;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”


(2) up to twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

Can an employee take intermittent leave?            

An employee does not have to take FMLA leave all at once.  When it is medically necessary, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently–that is, the FMLA leave may be taken periodically within increments of hours or days or on a reduced leave schedule.

Intermittent leave is often taken when employees need leave for a period of incapacity or treatment due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one that (1) requires “periodic visits” for treatment by a health care provider or nurse under the supervision of the health care provider, (2) continues over an extended period of time, and (3) may cause episodic rather than continuing periods of incapacity.

Are Interference, Discrimination and Retaliation Prohibited?

Your employer is prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or denying your exercise of FMLA rights, and from retaliating against you for making a complaint about your FMLA rights.

 (Learn More . . . )

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