What is Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law allowing employees to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks a year without losing their job or health benefits. The reasons you can take this leave are:
- Child birth and early-life care for a newborn
- Care for an adopted or foster child within the first year of placement
- Care for a spouse, minor child or parent with a serious medical condition;
- Care for an adult child with a condition that falls under the American Disabilities Act
- A serious medical condition making it impossible for you to perform the essential functions of employment.
You can also use this leave intermittently to take care of yourself or an eligible family member for a serious chronic health condition requiring doctor visits, treatment or temporary periods of incapacity.
There is a special provision for military families. If your active duty or reserve forces spouse, son, daughter, parent or next-of-kin has a serious injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty, you may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave during a 12-month period to care for them.
In California, FMLA coverage has been extended to include a domestic partner and a domestic partner’s child. Also, in California, we have the Family-School Partnership Act allowing parents, grandparents and guardians to take time from work to attend school conferences and events.
Not everyone is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act. You are eligible for protections under FMLA if:
- You are employed by a business with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of where you work
- You are employed by a public agency. This means schools, state, local and federal agencies, but not public agency employees or local educational agencies
- You have worked for the employer for at least 12 months. The 12 months don’t have to be consecutive
- You logged at least 1,250 work hours within the last 12 months
Have Your Rights Been Violated?
If you are eligible for FMLA, and your leave falls under one of the above reasons, you must be allowed the time off!
Your rights may have been violated if you:
- Are demoted when you return to work. You may not be able to return to the same position, but your pay, benefits and responsibility must be substantially equal
- Are not given your health benefits. Your employer must provide the same group health insurance benefits, including their contribution, just as if you were not on leave
- Have other employee benefits taken away. When you return to work, all your other benefits must be reinstated
- Your request for leave was made difficult or denied
- Are retaliated against when you return to work
If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to contact our Long Beach medical leave lawyers for a free consultation!