Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA, eligible employees have a right to consume up to 12 weeks of leave in any period of 12 months for events that meet the criteria without any restraint or interference from employers.

Coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is applied to any employer in any activity or industry that affects commerce, or in the private sector that engages in commerce, and that has 50 or more employees each workday in at least 20 calendar weeks in the preceding or current calendar year.

This law covers all local education agencies (schools, whether private or public) and public agencies (local and state governments). Title II of the FMLA covers the majority of federal employees who are bound by regulations that are issued by the OPM or Office of the Personnel Management.

Eligibility for the FMLA Leave

The following is a list of requirements to be eligible for the FMLA leave:

  • Has to be employed by an employer that is covered by the FMLA and works at a worksite within the range of 75 miles of which that certain employer employs no less than 50 people;
  • Must have worked for at least 12 months (do not have to consecutive) for the covered employer; and
  • Must have worked for no less than 1,250 hours during the period of 12 months immediately before the date of the leave starts.

The FMLA gives eligible employees a right to take a period of up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave in any 12-month period for any one of the following reasons:

  • For the birth and care of the employee's newborn child;
  • For placement with the employee of a child for foster care or adoption;
  • To care for an immediate member of the family (parent, child, or spouse) who has a serious health condition; or
  • To take medical leave when the employee is incapable of going to work due to a serious health condition.

Family Leave Violations

Covered employers are obliged to post a notice for employees that outline the basic terms and conditions of the FMLA. If they deliberately failed to post such notice, they are subject to an amount of $100 civil money penalty for every offense.

If your right under the FMLA has been violated or you have experienced family leave violations, this act provides employees the right to:

  • File a claim with the WHD or the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor's (DOL) Employment Standards Administration (ESA);
  • File a lawsuit under the FMLA or cause a lawsuit or claim to be filed; and
  • Cooperate or testify with a lawsuit or investigation without being discriminated against in any other way or without being fired.

For any legal concerns, it is advisable to consult with an expert employment law attorney who specializes in dealing with cases of family leave violations. Having the necessary legal assistance can help you fight for your rights.