Family Medical Leave Act

Family Medical Leave Act

The attorneys at Patterson Harkavy regularly work with employees to help them understand and exercise their rights under the Family Medical Leave Act. 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.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that 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 or a newborn child without having to worry about being fired.

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 leave 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?

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:

  • Interfere with 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.

Make an Impact: Protect Your Rights

If you or a family member have suffered serious illness or injury, you have the right to take the time to heal and care for your loved ones. Patterson Harkavy’s employment attorneys have helped workers across North Carolina understand and advocate for their rights under FMLA, so that they can put their health and the health of their families first. 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.