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Do Your Employees Qualify for FMLA Leave?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Employers often wonder about their obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Which employees are entitled to time off, and what types of situations qualify for FMLA leave?

To begin, the FMLA is only applicable to private businesses that employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 weeks during the year. If applicable, employees are only eligible if they have been employed for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during that time period.

Covered employees must be given up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave a year if a request is made for one of the following reasons:

  • The employee has given birth and/or must care for a newborn child;
  • An adopted or foster child has been placed in the home;
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition; or
  • If the employee has a serious medical condition.

There are also special rules for the children, spouses and parents of military members who are on active duty or about to be deployed. They, too, are entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave so they can:

  • Attend military sponsored functions;
  • Make necessary financial and legal arrangements; and
  • Find alternative child care.

Military families are entitled to 26 weeks of FMLA leave to care for a service member who is undergoing treatment for an injury sustained while on duty.

As an employer, you are required to notify an employee when you believe a request for leave falls under the FMLA. The employee can then opt to take FMLA leave or choose to use her paid personal days. Work with your employees in these types of situations so that you are both satisfied with the results.

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