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How does the Family Medical Leave Act help employees?

Employees often worry about what will happen if they get sick or injured or if something happens to one of their immediate family members. Certain employees in this country have special protections through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

It is imperative that workers know what conditions they must meet in order to be covered. Employers and employees should all be aware of what situations are covered and how they have to be handled.

Who is covered by the FMLA?

In order to be eligible for FMLA coverage, a person has to work for an employer who is required to provide the coverage. Within the 12 months prior to needing the leave, the person must work a total of at least 1,250 hours, and they must have a full year of service for the company. Additionally, the employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the location where the worker is based.

What kind of leave is FMLA?

FMLA provides unpaid leave for covered employees. There are cases when an employee can opt to use their paid time off, sick leave or other similar leave to cover the FMLA. The person can take up to 26 weeks off per 12-month period. The person's job is protected during the period, so they can't be terminated.

There are a few situations that qualify for leave under the FMLA.

  • When a child is born, placed with the employee for foster care or adoption, FLMA goes into effect to allow bonding. Leave must occur within 12 months of the birth or placement.
  • When the employee has a serious health condition, FMLA is appropriate.
  • When an immediate family member, including a parent, spouse or child, has a serious medical condition, and employee. In-laws aren't covered by the FMLA.
  • When there are certain circumstances involving a spouse, child or parent due to service in the armed forces.

How does the leave work?

The circumstances determine how the FMLA leave works. If it is for something that is planned, such as a medical procedure, reasonable notification to the employer is necessary. If the leave terms are intermittent, a reasonable effort to schedule them must be made to not interrupt the employer's operations. This is subject to the medical care provider's approval.

Leave under the FMLA can be taken all at once, but there are instances when it might be broken up. Employees will work closely with their employer to get the specifics of the FMLA worked out.

There are times when employers don't know the FMLA guidelines or just don't follow them. You do have rights as an employee in New York so finding out your legal options is beneficial.

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