The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was written in 1993 and covers leave entitlements for certain employees based on specific eligibility for work leave. This is important for managers and employees because it protects both sides against conflicting problems.
The Act states that most employees can access a maximum of 12 working weeks of unpaid leave within any 12 month period for any of these reasons:
ï The birth of any baby and the care of this baby.
ï An employee’s involvement in the housing and foster care or adoption of a child.
ï Caring for a child, spouse or parent of any employee who has a severe medical problem.
ï If an employee has a serious medical problem that renders them unable to carry out the duties relating to their role at work.
There may be circumstances where leave may be needed intermittently for one or more of these reasons. This may enable employees to work on a schedule that’s less than their normal full-time hours.
An employee can choose to use paid annual leave or sick leave as an alternative if they have time owing to them but such time may be limited depending on the actual reason for the leave.
The FMLA defines the list of serious medical conditions as including: strokes, cancer, heart attacks, pregnancy, childbirth, Alzheimerís and severe injuries. It dons NOT cover short-term ailments such as: headaches, the flu, colds, earaches, an upset stomach, dental problems and other issues that generally only last a short time.
Sometimes a migraine may be considered a serious medical condition, depending on its severity. Other conditions may also be considered serious if a doctor declares them to be so because itís impossible to legislate against a complete list of medical ailments.
The military also have access to the FMLA. Coverage is available to employees who have children, parents or spouses who currently serve who have served in the military and have suffered from a serious injury as a result of this service.
An employee must give at least 30 days notice if possible or, if itís an emergency, as much warning as they can when taking leave. Medical certificates may be requested at any time to verify the seriousness of the problem.
The FMLA covers employers who have more than 50 staff who work within 75 miles from the office. Employees must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours within the preceding 12 months to be eligible for this leave.
Employees are entitled to resume their current position when they return to work after leave and it canít be held against them in any way. If they canít give you the same job back, you must be given a similar job with similar or better pay.
As an employee, be sure you know your rights under the FMLA of 1993 so you donít miss out on leave entitlements you may need.