A surprising number of American workers do not realize they are entitled to family and medical leave under federal law. This law, known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), protects many workers by giving them a certain amount of leave every year for family or medical issues. But what is the FMLA, and how does it help employees?
What is the FMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that protects certain employees by giving them a certain amount of unpaid leave for medical issues or problems related to their family. This grants every covered employee twelve weeks per twelve-month period time to take time off, legally, without fear of losing their job as a result. It also allows employees to seek compensation if they are penalized for taking time off under the FMLA.
What Sorts of Things Can I Request Leave For?
You can take unpaid time off work for any personal medical issue, including problems from physical injuries, illnesses, or psychological problems. You may also request time off to help with issues related to your spouse, to give birth, to care for children, or to care for parents or other family members with serious medical issues. You can also take time to help with family members who are entering active service in the military, or to take time for adoption or fostering a child.
Who Can Qualify for the FMLA?
To qualify for FMLA protections, an employee must meet certain criteria:
- They must belong to a company with 50 or more employees that work within 75 miles of their place of work.
- They must have been employed by the company for a minimum of twelve months.
- They must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the twelve months prior to claiming FMLA leave.
Employees who do not belong to a company with 50 or more employees cannot qualify for the FMLA, sadly. The same also goes if they have not worked at their employer for at least twelve months, or if they have not worked at least 1,250 hours during the last twelve months.
What Happens if My Employer Denies My Leave?
If you are an employee at a company that is covered by the FMLA, meet the criteria to obtain FMLA leave, and are denied that leave, you have options available to you. You can sue for compensation for that lost leave, particularly if you were disciplined or fired for taking FMLA leave. However, to know the full extent of the options available to you, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling employment law cases, who can help you to get the compensation you deserve.
If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.