The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specific family or medical reasons.
FMLA leave can be taken in various scenarios, including:
- The birth of a child and bonding with the newborn within one year of birth.
- The placement of a child for adoption or foster care and connecting with the child within one year of placement.
- To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a severe health condition.
- A serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing their job.
- Any qualifying exigency arising out of a spouse, child, or parent being on covered active duty or called to covered active duty in the Armed Forces.
In addition, the FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the servicemember’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.
How Much FMLA Leave Is Available?
Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 work weeks of FMLA leave in 12 months. To qualify, you must:
- Work for a covered employer: private-sector employers with 50 or more employees, public agencies, and public or private elementary and secondary schools.
- Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive).
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the start of the leave.
- Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
What Conditions Qualify for FMLA Leave?
A qualifying serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.
- Incapacity for more than three full, consecutive calendar days with continuing treatment by a health care provider.
- Chronic conditions requiring periodic treatment by a health care provider, continuing over an extended period, and causing episodic incapacity.
- Permanent or long-term conditions requiring supervision by a health care provider.
- Conditions requiring multiple treatments by a health care provider for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury or for a condition that would likely result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated.
How to Apply for FMLA Leave?
To request FMLA leave, you should follow these steps:
- Notify your employer as soon as you know the need for leave. If the need is foreseeable, provide at least 30 days’ notice. If not, notify your employer as soon as possible (typically within one to two business days of learning about the need for leave).
- Comply with your employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave.
- Provide sufficient information for your employer to determine whether the FMLA applies to the leave request, such as the anticipated timing and duration of the leave and relevant facts about the reason for the leave.
- If requested, provide appropriate documentation, such as a certification from a health care provider, to support the need for leave.
Many federal laws protect your rights at work, including the FMLA. Understanding these laws is challenging, and if you think your rights have been violated, speak with an employment lawyer.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Protect Your Work Rights
If your work rights have been violated, speak with our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. to discuss your options. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.