US Family and Medical Leave – FMLA Leave Eligibility Guidelines
According to US Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees of covered employers can take up to 12 weeks unpaid, job protected leave each year and his health benefits remains continue during this period. The leave can be granted for family and medical reasons. He will be reinstated in the same or equivalent job in the company after the leave. Here we will discuss on FMLA tracker software, FMLA eligibility checklist and how to apply for leave.
Employees covered under FMLA
FMLA applies to private sector employers who have more than 50 employees working in an area of 75 miles who work for 20 or more weekly hours in a current or previous year, all the public agencies which include local, state and federal agencies irrespective of number of employees.
Employee Eligibility for FMLA Leave
There are a certain eligibility criteria to be satisfied for an employee to be eligible for FMLA leave. It is as follows:
- The employee has worked for at least 12 months. 12 month employment doesn’t mean that the employee must have worked for consecutive 12 months. If the employee has worked anytime before and has taken a break, it counts provided the break period is not over 7 years of time.
- She/he has worked for at least 1,250 hours in a year for the employer.
- The employer is covered under FMLA.
FMLA Leave Entitlement
The leave can be entitled for several reasons. Following mentioned are the reasons:
- In case of birth of a child, adoption of a child or foster care, the employee may wish to spend time with the child.
- If a family member is suffering from a serious health condition and needs care. Usually a family member means a parent, spouse, daughter or a son.
- A serious health condition which renders an employee unable to join the duty on a job.
- For any urgent need arising such as a family member is a military member on active duty or a call to duty.
There is a provision for Military Family Leave under the FMLA act, under which an employee is allowed to take up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a family member who is a service member and has gone through injury or illness.
In certain circumstances, employees can go for FMLA leave on an intermittent basis meaning leave is not taken for continuous 12 weeks but in a separate time blocks for reasons such as leave is required to care for planned medical treatment. He may also tae reduced scheduled leave meaning the employee will work for less time. The reduced schedule or intermittent leave requires prior approval from the employer.
Usually, FMLA leave is unpaid leave, but under certain circumstances an employee may request for substitute FMLA leave with accrued paid leave. Whether it will be substituted or not is determined by leave policy of the employer.
How to request for FMLA Leave
An employee must make request for FMLA leave specifying adequate reason and details to grant FMLA, if possible 30 days in advance. When the reason for the leave is a medical condition, a medical certificate is to be provided.
Once the FMLA leave is over, the employee is restored his original job or an equivalent job. The equivalent job meaning, sometimes you may not get the same work you were performing before. Your pay and health benefit will remain unaffected.
For more information about FMLA leave, you can visit the website www.wagehour.dol.gov.