The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
What is the Family & Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) serves as the primary source of maternity and disability leave rights in the Carolinas. But the usefulness of this law is limited by the fact that it is unpaid—making it only available to those who can afford to be away from work for significant periods of time. Some employers pay for short-term and/or long-term disability insurance that can help fill this gap by paying employees some percentage of their usual pay when they are away from work for certain qualifying reasons.
The FMLA itself provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees of larger companies who need to be away from work because of (a) their own serious health condition or that of their spouse, child, or parent, (b) the birth or adoption of a child, or (c) certain reasons associated with a spouse’s, child’s, or parent’s military service. To be eligible employees must have worked for their employer for over a year before needing leave. This leave can be taken continuously or intermittently if the employee is able to work off and on.
The law limits these leave rights to larger employers by excluding employees unless they have 49 coworkers within 75 miles of where they work. Likewise, you must have worked 1,250 hours within the last year in order to be eligible for FMLA leave. The law defines a “serious health condition” as either an overnight stay in the hospital or a period of incapacity of four or more days that also involves at least one trip to the doctor.
Where this leave is available, the law requires that employers maintain employees’ health benefits during leave and restore employees to their same or an equivalent job after leave.
If your employer has denied you leave when you believe you had the right to time away from work or if you have faced retaliation for taking this type of time away from the job, you should reach out for a consultation today.
Reach out for a consultation today.