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The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) provides certain employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave a year, and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave. This Compliance Guide summarizes the FMLA provisions and regulations1, and provides answers to the most frequently asked questions. More detail on the FMLA may be found in the regulations (29 CFR Part 825).

Summary

The FMLA became effective August 5, 1993, for most employers and employees. (For those covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in effect on that date, the FMLA became effective on the expiration of the CBA or February 5, 1994, whichever was earlier.)

This law covers only certain employers; affects only those employees eligible for the protections of the law; involves entitlement to leave, maintenance of health benefits during leave, and job restoration after leave; sets requirements for notice and certification of the need for FMLA leave; and protects employees who request or take FMLA leave. The law also includes certain employer recordkeeping requirements.

Purposes of the FMLA

The FMLA allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA seeks to accomplish these purposes in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers, and minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of gender, while promoting equal employment opportunity for men and women.

Employer Coverage

FMLA applies to all:

  • public agencies, including State, local and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools); and,
  • private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year ¾ including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

For FMLA purposes, most Federal and Congressional employees are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or the Congress.

Employee Eligibility

To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must work for a covered employer and:

  1. have worked for that employer for at least 12 months; and
  2. have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave; and,
  3. work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location.

Leave Entitlement

A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period for one or more of the following reasons: Read more at: 
http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/APPENDIXF.htm

Resource: US Dept. of Labor