The U.S. Department of Labor, concerned that too few employees throughout the United States were aware of the protections offered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), recently released a guide intended for workers to help explain the benefits of the federal law. The guide works through a typical FMLA leave process - from determining eligibility for FMLA job-protected leave to returning to work after taking leave.
Workers who are covered by FMLA are those who have worked for their current employer for at least 12 months. The 12 months do not have to be consecutive; seasonal workers are still eligible for FMLA leave. On average, you must have worked 24 hours per week during the last year (or 1250 hours) and your employer must employ at least 50 workers at or near your jobsite.
FMLA leave may be taken for a serious health condition or while expanding your family through child birth or adoption. One of the benefits of FMLA leave is that, for up to 12 weeks, you may take medical leave without fear of losing your job. FMLA leave is job-protected medical leave. In addition, any time that you take off on approved FMLA leave cannot be used against you in a later performance evaluation.
FMLA leave is unpaid leave unless your employer otherwise provides for disability coverage.
California medical leave laws offer additional protections for employees who do not work for companies with at least 50 employees. California also makes allowances for paid medical leave in some circumstances.
If you have questions about FMLA leave or California medical leave, an employment lawyer in your area can help you understand the protections offered by both state and federal medical leave laws.
Source: United States Department Of Labor, "Need Time? The Employee's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act"