The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and applies to state, local and private sector workers whose employer has at least 50 employees. FMLA protects the jobs of eligible employees while they are on leave. Employees do not receive pay when taking FMLA leave unless they are concurrently taking earned vacation or sick leave.
Qualifying for FMLA
FMLA is offered to employees who need leave for a medical or family condition or to care for a family member with a medical condition. An employee may also apply for FMLA for the birth or adoption of a child, for a medical condition that prevents her from working or to care for a spouse, parent or child with a serious medical condition.
Amount of Leave
FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave per 12 months in most situations. Military caregiver leave provides up to 24 weeks of leave may be taken during a 12 month period if the child, spouse, parent or next of kin is a seriously injured or ill service member.
In many cases, employees take FMLA leave in a single block of time and may not work full-time while on FMLA. In some cases, the employee may be approved for intermittent leave in which the employee continues to work full-time or on a reduced schedule and takes FMLA leave as needed for medical treatments for a medical condition or to assist a family member with medical treatments.
When Leave Time Runs Out
When the employee returns from FMLA leave, the employer must reinstate the employee to her same or equivalent position. If the employee is unable to return to work at the end of the 12 or 24 weeks of FMLA leave, the employer is no longer required to hold the individuals position.