The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed by the Congress in 1993 to protect the rights of employees. Through such act, employees are granted to care for an immediate family member who has a serious medical condition.

Also, this is granted to employees who would leave work for a certain time to recuperate from a serious health condition or when he/she needs to take care of a newborn child.

The U.S. Department of Labor obliges such act to employers who have 50 or more employees and usually up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave are granted to eligible employees.

During the leave period, an employer has limitations of what he should do to the employee's job status. He cannot refuse to bring back an employee after a Family and Medical Leave Act in most situations. He cannot also make certain actions such as denying promotion or demoting an employee.

Family Leave Act

The Family Leave Act or Public Law 103-3 was enacted on February 1993, which grants family and temporary medical leave under specific situations.

The employment benefits provided by this act include benefits granted or made available by the employer. This may include group life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, educational benefits, sick leave, annual leave, and pensions.

As defined in section 3(3) of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the said benefits are granted regardless of whether they are provided by a written policy of the employer or through an "employee benefit plan."

Medical Leave Act

This act was enacted on February 5, 1993 and was made effective on August 5, 1993. This grants medical leave under certain conditions.

Family and Medical Leave Act Limitations

The law doesn't require all employers to grant an unpaid leave. Employers and employees should comply with the stipulations first, before they were granted of such privilege.

The will be eligible for Family and Medical Leave if:

For employers

  • The employer has 50 or more employees who work within a 75-mile radius and are included in the company's payroll, whether those employees work only for part time or on live.

  • Successors in interest of an employer.

  • Employers who engage in commerce or in any industry affecting commerce.

For employees:

  • The employee has been working in the company for at least 12 months.

  • The employee has rendered work to about 1, 250 hours or 25 hours per week, within the 12 month period before the leave.

What an Employee Should Do

Should the employee qualified for FMLA, he/she must make a prior notice stating his intention for a family or medical leave. This is very important because absence without notifying the employer may have some effects and may even serve as ground for termination.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employees to inform the employers 30 days before the start of leave, should the date is foreseeable. Foreseeable events are surgery, adoption and childbirth.

In case the leave in not foreseeable, inform "as soon as practicable" the employer within one or two working days of knowing the need to take FMLA leave. However, adequate information must be provided by the employee so that the employer will understand the need for leave.

Other Information about FMLA

Should an employee want to know information about FMLA, it can be found at the Department of Labor, and you can also visit their website. Summary of FMLA are provided in the fact sheet.

Employers may however refer to the FMLA Compliance Guide for rules that they should comply with.