April 23, 2021

Family Medical Leave Act – How It Helps You In Times of Need

The Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, exists to ensure that those of us who are currently employed but need time off work for a specific medical or family reason are able to take as much as twelve weeks off without fear of losing our jobs. Unfortunately it can happen that a situation arises in which a prolonged break from the workplace is necessary. Although the leave granted under the FMLA is unpaid, it does allow us to have peace of mind that after the allotted time has elapsed we can return to our jobs without fear of any discrimination.

Family Medical Leave Act

One important issue that should be mentioned is that under the FMLA the employer is obliged to continue with any medical benefits they provide under your health insurance scheme. This can make a massive difference to your financial well being as if you are taking the leave due to your ill health, or that of a close family member, you may have otherwise struggled to meet the accrued expenses of treatment.

The FMLA is enforced and administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor’s Employment Standards Office. It has been in force since August 1993 and already has helped millions of Americans in times of need.

There are strict eligibility criteria that govern the Family Medical Leave Act. To qualify an employee must work for an employer who falls under the remit of the FMLA, been with the employer for a year, and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the past twelve months. Only those people working in a US territory qualify and the employer must have at least fifty employees if a private sector company. The rules for public sector workers are slightly different and more flexible.

There are various situations when FMLA entitlement can be initiated. If you are hoping to take leave it is important to familiarize yourself with the various reasons that the Family and Medical Leave Act has been brought into law for.

There are four basic categories: a situation in which an employee cannot work due to a health problem, the birth of a new born child, placement of an adopted or foster care child, and the care of a close family member that has serious medical problems.

It is possible to take the leave you are eligible for in separate blocks as opposed to on a continuous basis for twelve weeks. Depending upon whether you have built up any paid leave, this may be used in place of the FMLA leave.

When applying for leave under this act you must be provided the required forms by your employer. These need to be filled in accurately and returned to the HR department of your company or you can give the documents directly to your manager. The company is obliged to issue you with a decision within five working days of being presented your claim. If they refuse to grant you leave there is always the option of contesting the decision making process.

Learn more, click here: http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/html/fmlafac2.asp