Family and Medical Leave Act

Family and Medical Leave Act

If you or a family member is suffering from a serious health condition, you may need to take an extended period of time away from work in order to deal with it. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a federal law that allows employees who are covered to take extended periods off from work in order to deal with their own or their family member’s health problems without fearing job loss or reprisal. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler LLC regularly help people with their cases involving FMLA leave. Here is what you need to know about this law and your rights.

Covered employers and employees

The act applies to most employers and employees. Covered employers are those that employ 50 or more people. The 50 employees may work at several different locations within 75 miles of each other, and the number includes temporary workers, people who are off on leave and part-time employees.

In order for you to be considered to be a covered employee under the FMLA, you must:

  •  Have worked for a minimum of one year for your current employer;
  • Have worked 1,250 hours or more in the year before your requested leave; and
  • Work for a covered employer.

Provided leave

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their own health conditions or for those suffered by family members. The leave can be intermittent or taken in one chunk. It is unpaid leave. During the time that you are on leave, your employer may not fire you for taking the leave and must continue providing you with your health insurance in the same manner as if you had not left. Your employer may require you to give advance notice of your leave and a medical certification.

Coming back to work

When your leave is over, you are entitled to be either given your job back or a position that is equivalent to it with the same benefits and pay that you enjoyed previously. Your leave may not be counted against you if your company has an attendance policy in place. If you are a key employee whose absence may harm the company substantially, the company may be able to avoid reinstatement. It must notify you that you are a key employee at the time you notify it of your intention to take FMLA leave. Key employees are those that are among the top 10 percent of wage earners at their companies.

If you meet the eligibility guidelines, you have a right to take leave for up to 12 weeks during a year in order to care for your or your loved one’s health condition. If your rights have been violated, contact the Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorneys at Swartz Swidler today to get help.