Family & Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) probably applies to you if you work for the government or for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of where you work AND you have worked for the employer at least one year.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits eligible employees to take off work up to 12 weeks per year because of their own or a family member’s serious health condition or because they become a mother or a father. You don’t even need to mention the FMLA in order to be entitled to the time off, although you have to give your employer enough information so that they know there might be a serious health condition involved. Your employer can require you to fill out paperwork and have your doctor certify that you need the leave.

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a “serious health condition” doesn’t have to be all that serious. A health condition qualifies if any of the following are true:

  • The condition has resulted in a period where the patient can’t work or perform regular daily activities for more than three consecutive days and involving either two doctor’s visits or one doctor’s visit and a prescription (examples may include strep throat, ear infection, or pink eye)
  • The condition is chronic and requires continuing treatment (for example – asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy)
  • The condition has resulted in an overnight hospital stay

You can take leave in increments as small as one hour or even less. For instance, the health condition might require periodic doctor appointments or might limit you to working reduced hours for a period of time.

It is against the law for your employer to take your job away from you during your leave or upon your return, unless you are given an almost identical job with the same pay, status, and work schedule. It also violates the law for your employer to retaliate against you because you have taken Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave or tried to do so. One common violation employers commit is to count the leave against you under a so-called “no fault” attendance policy.

All information on our website is meant to be generally informative. To find out whether this information or certain employment laws apply to your situation in particular, you should consult a lawyer of your choice.