The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Summary

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  It provides employees who worked at the company for more than a year the right to take unpaid leave for (1) the birth or adoption of a child or (2) when the employee, a spouse or close family relative suffers from a serious health condition.

Employers may not refuse to hire or to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, retaliate or discriminate against any employee because of he or she exercised their right to family care and medical leave.

Employment Attorneys Committed To Fighting For  Your Rights

If you have suffered retaliation or lost your job because you sought to protect your rights, we are on your side.  The Dolan Law Firm assists employees obtain their rights to medical leave and possesses an outstanding record of success obtaining damages for its clients whose rights have been violated.

Contact the employment attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm online or call toll free 1-888-452-4752 for a free, confidential case evaluation.

 

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About FMLA

WHICH EMPLOYERS HAVE TO PROVIDE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE?

Employers with more than 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius

WHICH EMPLOYEES ARE ENTITLED TO FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE?

To be entitled to medical leave, an employee must have worked for the previous 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in that year.

WHAT CAN FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE BE USED FOR?

  • The birth or adoption of a child (both men and women have this right)
  • A serious health condition of the employee, a spouse, parent, or child

WHAT IS A SERIOUS HEALTH CONDITION UNDER THE LAW?

A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either of the following:

  • Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential health care facility
  • Continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider

A simple cold or flu, absent special circumstances, does not constitute a serious medical condition.

WHAT IS AN EMPLOYER’S OBLIGATION UNDER THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT?

  • To provide up to a total of 12 weeks of unpaid leave
  • To continue an employee’s health benefits during the leave
  • To maintain the seniority of the employee and count the leave time just as if the employee continued to be at work for purposes of a seniority system
  • To return the employee to the same or a similar position (with similar responsibilities, pay and opportunities for advancement)

WHAT INFORMATION MUST THE EMPLOYEE PROVIDE TO THE EMPLOYER?

  • Reasonable advance notice if the leave is foreseeable
  • Documentation from the employee’s physician as to the medical condition and expected duration of the leave. This should be provided before the leave, if possible (emergencies happen).
  • An estimate of the time off and return date
  • If the need for treatment or leave is foreseeable, the employee should try and schedule treatment to avoid disruption to the employer’s business.

WHAT CAN THE EMPLOYER DEMAND AS PROOF OF MEDICAL LEAVE?

An employer may require that an employee’s request for leave to care for a child, a spouse or a parent who has a serious health condition be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the individual requiring care. That certification shall be sufficient if it includes all of the following:

  • The date on which the serious health condition commenced
  • The probable duration of the condition
  • An estimate of the amount of time that the health care provider believes the employee needs to care for the individual
  • A statement that the serious health condition warrants the participation of a family member to provide care during treatment or supervision of the individual requiring care.

WHAT IF THE EMPLOYER DOES NOT BELIEVE THE EMPLOYEE?

The employer may require, at the employer’s expense, the opinion of a second health care provider, designated or approved by the employer. That health care provider cannot be regularly employed by the employer.

In any case in which the second opinion differs from the opinion in the original certification, the employer may require, at the employer’s expense, the opinion of a third health care provider, designated or approved jointly by the employer and the employee. The opinion of the third health care provider concerning the certified information should be considered final and shall be binding on the employer and the employee.

ARE YOU ENTITLED TO YOUR JOB BACK AT THE END OF THE MEDICAL LEAVE?

You are entitled to the same or similar position (with same pay, responsibility, opportunity for promotion and benefits).

DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE ALL THE LEAVE AT ONE TIME?

No. Leave may be taken all at one time or at different times as needed for appointments or treatments or because of episodic difficulties. Total leave within the period may not exceed 12 weeks.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A REQUEST?

Make your request in writing as soon as you know you will need leave (in advance if possible) or as soon as possible following an emergency leave. Check your employee handbook for any forms or processes that are required. Consult with your health care provider to obtain certification of your need for leave and the expected duration of the leave and provide that to your employer with as much advance notice as possible.

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN DENIED?

Many companies require that you follow a certain channel of communication in reporting unlawful treatment, denial of your rights and/or retaliation. You should follow these procedures and document your actions in writing. Keep copies of all communications with your employer. Failure to follow these procedures may lead to a denial of your legal right to recover certain damages like punitive damages.

  • If you have been denied your right to family medical leave
  • If you have suffered retaliation or harassment because you took leave
  • If you were denied your job back after taking leave

Contact the Dolan Law Firm online or call us at  415-636-8160 for a free case evaluation.

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