Balancing work and family is a problem we all face and that is why Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) exists. According to the law, employers should allow employees to take a leave to care for ill family members or to recover from serious illness themselves.
However, not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Not all employees are eligible and not all leaves are covered. So, let us dive into details to find out more.
Employees and Employers: Who Is Covered?
Employers should comply with the FMLA only if they have more than 50 employees at least in the 20 weeks of the current or previous year. For other cases, state laws similar to the Family and Medical Leave Act might apply.
Equally, not all employees are eligible even if their employers are. A company will allow a leave only if the employee worked for the company for at least a year. And have also worked 1,250 hours during the previous year.
Eligible Reasons for the Family and Medical Leave Act
Employees can take the FMLA in the following cases:
- If they have a serious health condition
- Need to take care of a seriously ill family member
- Take time to bond with their new child
Military family leave is also covered. Employees can request a leave that has to do with managing practical issues that deal with a family member’s call to military duty or to take care of a family member with a service-related injury.
Is the Leave Paid?
The law does not require employees to offer an extra pay for the leave. However, employers can use their accumulated paid leave for vacation or sick days instead.
12 weeks per year is the standard time for leaves. The only exception is for cases when an employee needs to take care of a family member suffering an injury on military duty. In that case, employees can take up to 26 weeks of leave in one year. Note, however, that it will not be renewed for the next year.
Before taking your time, you need to pass a notice. If your FMLA can be forseen then giving a 30-day notice is the case. If it is something urgent, let your employer know about it during the same or next business day.
If your boss requires it, you will need to provide one from your health care provider veryfing that your leave is necessary. To do that you will have 15 calendar days.
Taking the Leave at Once or Intermittently?
You can do as you wish. Take use of the Family Medical Act Leave for just a few hours when you need it, in case of short-term medical treatment. Or all at once when for example bonding with your child.
When Will You Have to Pay Back?
If you decide to leave your job after the leave then you might need to reimburse the expenses. If you are not fully responsible for leaving your work and there are other circumstances at stake, then you should not worry about paying back.
What Should Happen When You Come Back to Work?
Your job position should still belong to you after you return from a leave. Only highly paid employees are an exception to this law. And if that is the case, employers should notify them in advance.
It is important for every employee to know the specifics of the Family and Medical Act Leave. It will guarantee a trouble-free process during the hard times.