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What are the Qualifications for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

The employer has to be a covered entity, and a private employer has to have 50 employees to qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act. If you work for an employer that has 49 employees, or 40 employees, or 20 employees and you have a serious medical condition, and they say, “You’re going to be gone for three weeks. Well, we can’t leave your job open for three weeks, we’re going to terminate you,” you don’t have a claim under the Family Medical Leave Act. If it has 51 then you might have a claim under the Family Medical Leave Act. There may be other claims that you might have if your employer has less than 50 employees, but the Family Medical Leave Act is not covered.

You also have to be qualified for it, you also have to have worked for the employer for 12 calendar months before you take the leave, or have 1250 hours of service for that same employer in the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave. There are a couple of different ways to qualify. A good rule of thumb is if you’ve been there more than a year, and they’ve got more than 50 employees in the company, and there are 50 employees within 75 miles of where you work then you’re covered by the Family Medical Leave Act.

I know that all sounds complicated, you may want to run it back, and listen to it again, but that’s why it’s also important if you think you have a claim to go see an attorney about it because it’s not straightforward. It’s very precise, and you want to make sure before you make a big deal about something that you actually are covered, and there’s a legal basis to make a claim.

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