The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers who have fifty or more employees to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid family or medical leave during any 12-month period, meaning that you do not have to take your 12 weeks consecutively. FMLA covers both private and public employees who have worked for their employer for at least a year. An employee may take family leave to care for a newborn baby, adopted child, or a foster child. An employee can take medical leave when the employee or employee’s spouse, child, or parent has a serious health condition requiring care. In addition, an employee caring for a family member with a serious injury or illness incurred as a result of a military duty can now take up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave within a 12 month period. Also, an employee can take up to 12 weeks of “qualifying exigency leave” to handle specific non-medical emergencies when a spouse, parent, or child is in or called to active military duty. For example, when your spouse is deployed to Afghanistan you may take “exigency leave” under FMLA to arrange for child care or to deal with financial or legal matters.
You can’t lose your job or employer-provided healthcare coverage for appropriately using the FMLA. After your FMLA time is up, you should be able to return to the same job with the same benefits and same pay. An important exception to FMLA, however, allows an employer to avoid re-instating a “key employee”, i.e., an employee whose pay falls within the top 10% of the firm’s workforce. Nevertheless, if you have been terminated or demoted as a result of FMLA leave, it is important to call now to discuss your rights.
Finally, a claim based on “public policy” may be brought against a smaller employer who for example doesn’t meet the technical requirements of FMLA by keeping fifty or more employees but who nevertheless otherwise violates FMLA policy.
To schedule an appointment to discuss violation of your rights under FMLA, please call (734) 475-4659.x