The Family Medical Leave Act Explained

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that came to existence in 1993. President Bill Clinton created the act so that hard working Americans could get the medical assistance they needed without the added stress of losing their jobs. Employees who fell ill or had to take care of sick family members before the FMLA act were at the mercy of their employers. Employers had the option to deny severely ill employees a leave of absence. The FMLA act provides fairness for employees who come across difficult times and incapacitating illnesses.

Employers That Must Abide by FMLA Rules

The FMLA act does not bind all employers to it. Only organizations that have more than 50 employees have to abide by the act's rules. Therefore, large corporations have to allow their eligible employees to leave work while small family owned companies do not.

Violations of the FMLA act have serious consequences for employers. For example, all employers must notify their employees of their rights under the FMLA act upon hiring them. Failure to do so can result in fines of $110 or more for each offense of not notifying the employee. FMLA denials, interference or terminations can cost an employer thousands of dollars if the offended employee brings a civil suit against the employer.

Employee Requirements for FMLA

An employee must spend a certain amount of time on a job before he or she qualifies for coverage under the FMLA act. First, the person must be a regular employee of the company and not a contracted worker or self-employed individual. The person must be working for a covered employer as well. Next, the employee must remain on the job for at least 12 months to be eligible for FMLA. He or she must complete 1,250 hours of work hours within the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave request.

The employee must also meet conditional requirements for FMLA.

The person can request FMLA for maternity so that she can give birth, heal from her wounds, and bond with her child. The person can request FMLA to take care of a serious medical condition that he or she has. Additionally, the employee can ask for FMLA time to take care of a spouse, child or other eligible family members. A wide variety of illnesses qualifies for FMLA. As long as the employee has a reputable medical professional who is willing to provide the necessary paperwork, the employee should receive leave approval with no complications.

Employer Responsibility to Employees on Leave

FMLA family leave provides an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. Therefore, an employer cannot terminate a person who is on leave, nor can it post the person's job position while he or she is on leave. The United States Department of Labor is the organization that monitors employer compliance with the FMLA act, and violations of it are serious. Some employers still may try to violate the act despite the possible consequences.

An employee who feels violated by an employer can seek assistance from an employment attorney who specializes in FMLA violations. Such a person also covers other workplace violations such as disability and age discrimination, sexual harassment, wage violations, hiring violations and the like. An employment attorney is a well-rounded individual with a compassionate nature. This person will fight hard for the rights of the working people. Any person who would like to inquire about an FMLA family leave violation can speak with an attorney today.

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