The FMLA, or Family and Medical Leave Act, is a Federal Law allowing eligible employees to take a
job-protected unpaid absence for up to 12 work weeks. It is an unpaid mandate (costs paid by employers) requiring larger employers to provide unpaid leave to certain workers in the United States. The law recognizes the growing needs of balancing family, work and obligations and promises numerous protections to workers.
To qualify for the FMLA mandate, a worker must:
· be employed by a business with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of his or her
· a public agency, including schools and state, local and federal employers (the 50-employee
threshold does not apply to public agency employees and local educational agencies).
· have worked for that employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive).
· have worked 1,250 hours (31.2 weeks or 7.5 months) within the last 12 months.
The FMLA mandates unpaid, job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks a year:
· to care for a new child, whether for the birth of a son or daughter, or for the adoption or
placement of a child in foster care;
· to care for a seriously-ill family member;
· to recover from a worker’s own serious illness;
· to care for an injured service-member in the family; or
· to address qualifying exigencies arising out of the deployment of a service-member within
The FMLA further requires employers to provide for eligible workers:
· Restoration to the same position upon return to work. If the same position is unavailable, the
employer must provide the worker with a position that is substantially equal in pay, benefits
· Protection of employee benefits while on leave. An employee is entitled to reinstatement of all
benefits to which the employee was entitled before going on leave.
· Protection of the employee to not have their rights under the Act interfered with or denied by
· Protection of the employee from retaliation by an employer for exercising rights under the Act.
Non-eligible workers and types of leave the FMLA does not apply to:
· workers in businesses with fewer than 50 employees (this threshold does not apply to public
agency employers and local educational agencies);
· part-time workers who have worked less than 1,250 hours within the 12 months preceding the
leave and a paid vacation;
· workers who need time off to care for seriously ill domestic partners, children of domestic
partners or seriously ill elderly relatives;
· workers who need time off to recover from short-term or common illness like a cold, or to care
for a family member with a short-term illness; and
· workers who need time off for routine medical care, such as check-ups.
For more information on the FMLA, please visit the following links: