FEDERAL & MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Passed by Congress to cover all employers in the US and Territories, FMLA applies to all eligible employees of covered employers and provides twelve weeks of unpaid leave with job protection and continuation of health insurance under the same terms as though they had not taken leave. The twelve weeks is extended to 26 weeks if the leave is taken to care for a related service member.


Eligible employee:   a salaried or hourly individual employed for 12 month with 1250 hours of service.

Covered employer:  a company with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius.

Twelve weeks: may be intermittent

Employees are entitled to 12 weeks in a 12 month period for the following:

  1. The birth of a child or care of a newborn within one year of birth.

  2. Placement of child for adoption or foster care within one year of placement.

  3. Care of spouse, child, or parent with serious health condition.

  4. Serious health condition of the employee.

  5. A qualifying emergency of an active duty military service member who is the

spouse, son, daughter or parent of employee.

The employer or the employee may require that FMLA be run concurrently with accrued paid leave

(vacation, sick leave) or in the case of the employee, with TDI.

Words of caution and how to avoid a lawsuit.

  • Dads as well as moms can take 12 weeks to care for a newborn or bond with a newly adopted or fostered baby.

  • Do not tell employee that you “cannot afford” for them to take time off.

  • When bonuses or pay increases are automatically given, ie COLA, an employee on FMLA is entitled to the same increase.

  • It is a good idea, though not required, that you insist that individuals taking FMLA make two phone calls, one to their immediate supervisor and one to (pick one) Human Resources, a third party administrator, a preselected manager.  Failure to do so negates FMLA.  This has already been upheld in several court cases.

  • Another option being used, and legal, is to have the employee submit requests in writing for all absences.   Not practical for someone who wakes up in the morning with the flu but for vacation, scheduled medical appointments and FMLA, easily done.