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Quick Summary of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Covered Employer: 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius for at least 20 weeks during the current or preceding calendar year

Eligible Employee: Employed for at least 12 months (need not be concurrent months) in past 7 years, and worked more than 1,250 hours over the prior 12 months

  • All time worked as a temporary employee counts

  • All time worked as a seasonal employee counts

FMLA provides eligible employees working for covered employers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons::

  • The birth of a child, and to care for the newborn child;

  • The placement of a child with the employee through adoption or foster care, and to care for the child;

  • To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a “serious health condition”; and

  • Because of a “serious health condition” that makes the employee unable to perform one or more of the essential functions of his or her job.

Serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves “inpatient care” or “continuing treatment" by a health care provider (HCP).

  • Inpatient care” is defined as an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility. Any overnight admission to such facilities is an automatic trigger for FMLA eligibility.

  • Continuing treatment” include: Treatment that results in an inability to work of more than 3 consecutive days with either: 2 or more in-person visits to a HCP within 30 days of incapacity OR 1 in-person visit to the HCP with a regimen of continuing treatment, such as prescription medication, physical therapy, etc. (examples include pneumonia, surgery, broken/fractured bones).

  • Chronic conditions that require periodic visits to a HCP, continue over an extended period of time and may cause episodic rather than continuing periods of incapacity of more than 3 days (examples include asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, kidney disease (dialysis)).

  • Incapacity for pregnancy or prenatal care (any such incapacity is FMLA-protected regardless of period of incapacity). This includes when a pregnant employee may be unable to work due to severe morning sickness.

  • Permanent or long-term conditions such as Alzheimer’s, severe stroke or terminal disease

  • Treatment for substance abuse by a HCP or provider of health care services upon referral by a HCP.

An eligible employee may take up to 26 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for an covered service member with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.

During FMLA leave, an employer must maintain the employee’s existing level of coverage under a group health plan.

At the end of FMLA leave, an employer must allow the employee to return to the same or an equivalent position.

FMLA prohibits retaliation against an individual because the individual has opposed unlawful activity under the Act, and prohibits interference with the exercise of rights under the Act.

U.S. Department of Labor enforces the law

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