The Family Medical Leave Act


The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA") was passed with the intent to help Americans balance work and family responsibilities. The FMLA allows for employees to take a reasonable amount of leave for medical problems or to bring home a new baby without the fear of job loss.

In order for an employer to be bound by the FMLA, it has to have employed 50 or more employees each workday for 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding year.  The FMLA requires most employers to grant medical leave to an employee in certain situations after employees have worked for the employer for 12 months and for 1250 hours in the past calendar year. The 12 months of employment do not necessarily have to be consecutive. Aside from service member employees or family members, the employer is required to provide up to 12 weeks of leave to the employee so that he/she can care for a qualifying family member's serious health condition or for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee's job. The employer must provide FMLA to the employee for the birth of a child and the placement of a child with the employee through adoption.

The FMLA makes it unlawful for an employer to interfere with the employee's right to take FMLA. The FMLA also provides for claims for discrimination or retaliation for taking FMLA or exercising rights available under the FMLA. Generally speaking, after the employee takes their leave, the employer is required to take the employee back to the same or an equivalent job. If this is not possible, the employee must be given an equivalent position with equal pay and working conditions. 

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