What is FMLA?

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At some point or another, everyone in the working world has either heard of or directly dealt with the Family Medical Leave Act. This federal law regarding medical leave blankets all 50 states and almost every worker in the United States, with very few exceptions. In getting to the details of the FMLA, let’s begin with its history and fundamental mission.

FMLA History, Mission

The Family Medical Leave Act was signed into law in 1993 and was intended to provide job security to workers needing medical leave. The law specifically addressed times past in which a worker could automatically lose their job should medical absence temporarily inhibit their ability to fill the daily requirements of that job.

President Bill Clinton’s administration originally saw the much-needed regulation into a legal reality. The efficiency of the law’s premise also has carried on for many years without major change or adaptations. The only exceptions to the solid legislation have been the move to include military family members in 2008 and several minor adjustments to the definition of “family” over the course of the following years. Aside from these minor adjustments to provisions, FMLA has been an unyielding law in the world of employment.

Provisions of the Law

There are five medical circumstances that are covered by FMLA. These are:

– Childbirth or adoption of a new child
– Child bonding within first year of birth or adoption
– Care for a qualifying family member suffering from a serious health condition
– Employee’s own serious health condition, making fulfillment of work duties impossible
– Military family members in qualifying circumstances with regard to deployment

To seek the protection of FMLA, the employee must first notify their employer at least 30 days in advance of the leave. The employee also has to have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, accumulating at least 1,250 work hours. In addition, the employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite.

Once officially covered by FMLA and having satisfied the qualifications above, the worker is entitled to comprehensive security of their position. The position, or an equivalent one must be available for the employee as soon as they are ready to return from their leave. There is a time limit though of 12 weeks of protection for every 12 calendar months. A military member’s family may take up to 26 weeks of leave in 12 months in order to care for that ailing service member.

It is important to note though that the leave protection granted by FMLA does not guarantee any pay for that period of leave. Pay is of zero consequence to the FMLA and its provisions under the law. As such, the only possibilities of receiving pay lie within the employee’s other workplace benefits such as paid vacation, sick leave, and so on.

FMLA provisions are an important protection provided by employers in the United States. Without such laws, even the best worker is only one illness or childbirth away from job-loss and immediate replacement. If you would like more information regarding the specifics of the Family Medical Leave Act, please visit the Department of Labor website at https://www.dol.gov .

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