Family and Medical Leave Act
What Is The Family & Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal regulation that allows employees who qualify based on the status of their emplor to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve month period for:
- The birth and/or care of a newborn,
- The adoption or placement of a foster child,
- Taking care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health problem,
- A serious health condition of the employee.
In some cases, an employee may take intermittent leave or work a reduced schedule.
What Are The Conditions of FMLA?
The FMLA applies to employers with fifty or more employees and to public agencies and private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees. To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must work for the employer for at least twelve months although the months need not be consecutive. Also, the employee must have worked at least 1250 hours during the preceding twelve months.
The employee should give notice of his/her intent to take FMLA leave at least thirty days before the leave is to begin, or as soon as it is practicable. The thirty day notice is based on whether the reason for applying for the FMLA absence is foreseeable. If the reason you request time is foreseeable, then the thirty days is necessary.
An employer cannot retaliate against an employee who takes FMLA leave. In addition, the employee cannot lose benefits accrued prior to the leave being taken. FMLA leave is generally not considered a break in service for purposes of longevity, seniority or an employee benefit plan. An employer must maintain health care coverage under the group plan as if leave were not taken.
Generally, upon returning to work, an employee who has taken FMLA leave must be restored to the same job or to one with equivalent pay and conditions. This measure is to ensure job security in the face of family or medical care. The employee’s benefits also must be equivalent to pre-leave benefits and the employee cannot be made to meet new qualifications. An employer is not permitted to consider FMLA absences in evaluations.
Have Your Rights Been Infringed Upon?
An employer may not limit, interfere or refuse to allow an employee to exercise their rights under FMLA. Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to disfavor an employee who is involved in an FMLA proceeding. Employees who believe their rights under FMLA have been violated may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division under the U.S. Department of Labor. Or a lawsuit may be filed in court through an attorney within two years of the last action the employee contends was a violation (three years if the violation is willful).
Consult With An Experienced Family Lawyer
Contact our office or call 602-277-4441 to speak with one of our experienced Arizona family law attorneys at Platt & Westby, P.C. As always our initial consultation is free of charge and we look forward to assisting you.