The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. FMLA rules are complex and must include any State mandated benefits that fall under the leave entitlement reasons such as maternity benefits. There are numerous requirements on behalf of the employer and failure to comply with these requirements may result in severe penalties.
The FMLA only applies to employers that meet certain criteria. A covered employer is a:
• Private-sector employer, with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer;
• Public agency, including a local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs; or
• Public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs.
Only eligible employees are entitled to take FMLA leave. An eligible employee is one who:
• Works for a covered employer;
• Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months;
• Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave* (the 12 months do not have to be consecutive but must be within 7 years); and
• Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
* Special hours of service eligibility requirements apply to airline flight crew employees.