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What is the Family Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law passed in 1993 whose purpose is to help employees maintain their employment in the event of a family or medical emergency requires them to be off work for an extended period of time. The FMLA provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year, and 26 weeks of leave per year for qualified caretakers of servicemembers.

Types of Leave Covered under FMLA

Under the FMLA Employees can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the following:

  • The birth of a son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for such son or daughter.
  • The placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for a spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee with a serious health condition. that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of their job

The FMLA also contains provisions allowing eligible employee 26 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.

 

Serious Health Conditions Under the FMLA

A serious health condition under the FMLA is defined as “an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

FMLA Protections

In addition to providing eligible employees leave for qualifying conditions the FMLA prohibits employers from enacting adverse employment decisions against a person exercising their FMLA rights. For example, an employer must maintain an employees’ health benefits, restore employees to their same or an equivalent job and protects employees from interference and retaliation for exercising their FMLA rights.

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