Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires many employers to grant employees 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave.  This can allow employees to recover from serious medical conditions or care for family members without having to worry about being fired.

The attorneys at Patterson Harkavy regularly work with employees to help them understand their rights under the FMLA.  We also represent employees when their employers unlawfully punish them for taking protected leave. If you have questions about your rights under the FMLA, or think your employer may have retaliated against you for exercising those rights, contact us today.

Which employers are covered by FMLA?

The FMLA covers private sector employers who employ at least 50 employees for at least 20 work weeks out of the year. It also applies to public agencies, including local, state, and federal government employers and public schools.

Who qualifies for FMLA?

To be eligible for FMLA an employee must:

  • Have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily continuously);
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the request for FMLA;
  • Work at a location with at least 50 employees or work within 75 miles of the employer’s location that has at least 50 employees.

Do employees have to take all 12 weeks of leave at once?

No. Employees are not required to use all 12 weeks of the allotted FMLA at once. Employees may use the leave intermittently to deal with their own serious medical conditions, as well as those of their family members. For instance, one could take 2 weeks to recover from a back surgery in March and then request additional 3 weeks of FMLA in June to care for a sick spouse.

What are an employer’s responsibilities under FMLA?

Covered employers must inform employees about whether they are eligible for FMLA when an employee requests leave. If the employee is eligible, the employer must provide information about the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If the employee is not eligible for FMLA, then the employer must provide a reason why. Employers must also inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-leave or if it will be designated as some other type of leave.

An employer may not:

  • Attempt to interfere or deny an employee their rights provided by the FMLA
  • Discriminate or fire someone for opposing a practice made unlawful under FMLA or for participating in an investigation related to FMLA proceedings

What can I do?

If you believe that your FMLA rights have been violated, call Patterson Harkavy toll free at 1-800-458-2541 or contact us online today.