A job is one of the most critical aspects of a person’s life. Taking precedence, however, is keeping healthy and ensuring that an employee’s family is healthy. When medical emergencies arise, an employee may need to take time off of work. If the employee works for an employer covered by the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employer should ensure that both parties -- employer and employee -- comply with the act.
Employer Is Covered by the Act
A preliminary concern involves ensuring that the employer is covered by the act. The FMLA covers all public employment (state and federal government jobs) and private employers who employ 50 or more employees over the course of a 20-week period. If the employer is not covered by the FMLA, then the protections of the FMLA do not apply unless both the employer and employee agree to them, preferably in writing.
Employee Is Eligible for the Act
Even if an employer is covered, the employee must also fall within the provisions of the act. The FMLA requires employees to have worked for that particular employer for 12 months; the time does not necessarily need to be concurrent. Additionally, the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12-month period leading up to the leave. Finally, the employee must work at a location where at least 50 of the employer’s employees work within a 75-mile radius.
A Serious Medical Condition Exists
The FMLA allows an employee to take an unpaid job leave to care for a serious medical condition. This includes the birth of a child. Additionally, a serious medical condition that requires hospital care or treatment expected to result in losing more than three days of work. It also encompasses serious medical conditions such as caring for a family member who has Alzheimer’s or has suffered a stroke, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Employee Followed Notice Procedures
Employees must comply with the relevant notice procedures regarding the leave. Unless the leave is requested due to an unexpected and sudden illness, the employee should provide the employer with 30 days notice prior to taking the leave. The U.S. Department of Labor provides forms an employee can use to make a leave request. Employers should ensure that the forms are properly filled out and turned in. If the employee complies with the provisions of the FMLA, the employee is entitled to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave and still return to the work at the same position or a similar one with similar responsibilities and the same pay.