Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (the “FMLA”) requires that employers having at least 50 employees provide specific types of unpaid leave to employees meeting specific eligibility criteria. The Misra Legal Group routinely assists clients in navigating the statutory and regulatory details of the FMLA.
Types of Leave
The FMLA provides employees with a right to unpaid leave for the following circumstances:
- The birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care
- To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition or for the employee's own serious health condition
- To address a qualifying exigency arising out of an employee's spouse's, parent's or child's service on active military duty or call to active military duty in support of a contingency operation
- To care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin who is a covered servicemember and has incurred a disabling injury or illness in the line of duty while on active military duty
While caring for a covered servicemember entitles the eligible employee for a maximum of 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a revolving 12-month period, all other circumstances only provide a maximum unpaid leave entitlement of 12 weeks.
Importantly, the FMLA also establishes criteria for employees to be eligible for the leave entitlement:
- Employment with the employer for at least 12 months
- Employment with the employer for at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the leave
- Employment with the employer at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles of that worksite
In addition to the leave entitlement, the FMLA requires that employers also provide the following:
- Guarantee the employee the same or a substantially similar position upon returning to work
- Provide intermittent leave if the employee's circumstances warrant such leave
- Continue the employee's group health benefits, if any, during the period of unpaid leave
The FMLA limits the potential for employee abuse of the leave entitlement by requiring that employees provide medical certification while seeking leave. Under certain circumstances, the employer may challenge the employee's medical certification, requiring the employee to submit to medical examination by a physician of the employer's choosing, and even require recertification during an extended leave period. Also, if the employer requires that all employees returning from any type of medical leave verify fitness for duty, the employer may require the same from an employee returning from FMLA leave.
If you need assistance in determining whether your business qualifies as a covered employer, in determining whether an employee is eligible for leave, or in establishing policies and procedures to comply with the FMLA, contact The Misra Legal Group.