The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993. It provides specified employees up to 12 weeks’ of unpaid leave per year (26 weeks when caring for military personnel.)

Under FMLA, eligible employees can elect to take to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year following:

  • the birth of a child,
  • the adoption of a child,
  • the recovery of a serious health condition, or
  • the care of an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition.

While employers may allow their employees to use paid vacation and/or sick time during their leave, it is not mandatory. Employers are only required to grant the time off.

During the approved leave, the employer is required to maintain health insurance and other benefits for the employee. When an employee returns from an FMLA leave, he/she must be given the same or a similar position.


What Employers Are Covered?

The FMLA applies to all public agencies (state, local and federal employers, as well as local education agencies) and to private companies who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 work weeks during the current or preceding calendar year.


Are All Employees Eligible for FMLA Leave?

To qualify for an FMLA Leave, an employee must:

  • work for a covered employer (see above);
  • have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months,
  • work at a location where the employers has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, and
  • have worked for the company for at least 12 months (does not have to be consecutive). 


Is Advanced Notice of Leave Required?

Yes. Employees are required to give their employer at least 30 days’ notice of an upcoming leave.  Ask your supervisor or human resources representative for the proper forms for applying for FMLA leave.


Learn More from the Department of Labor.

If you feel your rights under the FMLA have been violated, contact Tammy Bowles Raines Law Office for a free consultation.