The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA Rights

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was created in 1993 as a way of providing employees with a means of coping with the challenging demands of family and home. It helps workers who, for personal reasons, may require time off. It allows up to 12 weeks unpaid leave and entitles the employee at the end of that period to return to the same or similar position that they were in before they left. The Act covers the following situations:  Chronic or Terminal Illness of a Spouse or Close Relative, the Birth or Adoption of a Child, and Employee Illness.

Do all employers need to comply with the FMLA?    

No, the FMLA only applies to private employers with 50 or more  employees.
Who enforces the FMLA?

The Department of Labor enforces the FMLA.  The EEOC has no enforcement responsibility for the FMLA.


What are the Basic FMLA Leave Requirements?

Under the FMLA, an “eligible” employee may take up to 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

(1)     The birth of a child, and to care for the newborn child;

(2)     The placement of a child with the employee through adoption or foster care, and to care for the child;

(3)     To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health                   condition; and

(4)     Because a serious health condition makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of his or her job.9


How is a “serious health condition” defined under the FMLA?

An FMLA “serious health condition” is “an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves . . . inpatient care . . . or continuing treatment by a health care provider.”


What about Health Insurance Benefits During FMLA leave?

During FMLA leave, an employer must maintain the employee’s existing level of coverage under a group health plan.


Does the Employer Need to “Save” My Job?

At the end of FMLA leave, an employer must take an employee back into the same or an equivalent job.


For more information, or to for advice on what a company needs to do to be in compliance with this law.