The Family and Medical Leave Act

The FMLA is a powerful tool for employees to protect their jobs while also protecting the health of themselves and their families.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires private and public employers with 50 or more employees to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an eligible employee after the birth of a child, the arrival of an adopted child, to care for a sick relative or when the employee is ill. An employee is eligible if he or she has worked for an employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours. When leave is granted by the employer, it can be taken all at once or it can be taken in smaller increments of time, known as intermittent leave.

What should you do if you feel you need FMLA leave?

You must tell your employer as soon as possible that you need FMLA leave. Normally, that means at least 30 days in advance, unless the need is sudden or unpredictable. Within 5 business days of your request, your employer must tell you if you are eligible for FMLA leave. If you are eligible for FMLA leave, your employer must give you at least 15 calendar days to provide information and documentation showing that the leave you are requesting is FMLA-qualifying. It is your responsibility (not your doctor’s) to assure that the form has been returned to your employer within the deadline. Failure to meet the deadlines can result in your request being denied.

Even after FMLA is approved, you must continue to comply with your employer’s reasonable policies and requests, including providing additional documents, reporting absences, and notifying your employer of any changes in your situation while you are on leave. If you fail to follow the requirements of the FMLA or your employer’s policies, you could lose the protections of the FMLA and/or be subjected to discipline by your employer.

How we can help you.

The FMLA is a powerful tool for employees to protect their jobs while also protecting the health of themselves and their families. However, much is required of employees in the approval process and beyond. Once an employee has taken FMLA leave, employers are allowed to calculate the remaining amount of leave in several different ways. Making those calculations can be confusing for employees, who must rely on what they are told by the employer about their FMLA rights. Employers have a team of people, including lawyers, human resource departments, and, in some cases, other companies specializing in administration of FMLA, to ensure they follow the law. You need your own team to help navigate this complex process. If your employer has interfered with your FMLA rights or retaliated against you for requesting or taking FMLA leave, call CLC to protect your rights. We’ve got your back.

If you feel your FMLA rights have been violated or you have been retaliated against for requesting or taking FMLA leave, you should do the following:

1. Document Everything.

Take notes during any meetings, and keep a journal of any communications or events that relate to your FMLA leave. Write down the names of people who treated you unfairly, who may have witnessed unfair treatment, who have been treated better, or who might have knowledge relevant to your claim. Be cautious, however, about making audio recordings, video recordings, or taking photographs in the workplace, without checking your employer’s policies first.

2. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, complain to your employer according to its procedures.

Be sure that you tell your employer not only that you are being treated unfairly, but that you feel it is related to your FMLA. Although not required, it is best to communicate any complaints in writing.

3. Save all relevant documents.

Save all relevant documents, emails, recordings, records of communication, phone logs, text messages, etc. related to your employment and the violations of your rights.

4. Don’t Quit.

Your job is important to you, and you should not be forced out because your employer is not following the law. Call CLC, and we will help enforce your rights.

Let’s talk about how we can help: