The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees. Also, with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.
FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities. Also, allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunities for men and women.
FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools. Also companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks. Of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
- For the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
- For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- To care for an immediate family member (i.e., spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
- To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months. Work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked a minimum of 1,250 hours of service. The determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.
Time taken off work due to pregnancy complications can be counted against the 12 weeks of family and medical leave.
Military family leave provisions first added to the FMLA in 2008. Afford FMLA protections specific to the needs of military families.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees entitled to:
Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
- the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
- placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
- to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
- a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
- any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
- Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
Understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA was signed into law on Feb. 5, 1993, by President Bill Clinton. Its passage was an acknowledgment by the federal government of changes in U.S. families, the workplace, and the labor force—for example, the proliferation of single-parent households or households in which both parents work—and the expectations of both employees and employers.
The law guarantees that a qualified employee may take up to 12 weeks off for reasons such as pregnancy/childbirth, adoption, personal illness, or the illness of a family member. The types of qualified medical and family situations also include foster care or military leave—for instance, if the eligible employee is a service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave), they are entitled to 26 weeks of leave.
The Purpose of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA seeks to remove the need for workers to choose between their jobs and their families, enabling them to balance employment security and caring for their children, parents, or other members of their extended family.
It impacts women in particular by recognizing the outsized roles they play in caregiving, and the fact that their familial role as default caregiver has a significant effect on their working lives and careers. For instance, it allows them to take a leave to care for a new-born or an adopted child, with the assurance that they can return to their job afterward.
But it also acknowledges the importance of men in serving a role in their families beyond that of the breadwinner.