The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12 month period:
- For the arrival of a new child, whether through birth, adoption or foster care
- To care for a family member who is suffering from a serious health condition
- To deal with the employee’s own serious health condition
Employees are entitled to several types of leave, and while they are on leave, they are entitled to receive the same health benefits they would have received had they been at work.
When employees return from FMLA leave, they are guaranteed to return to the same position they previously held or to an equivalent position. Employees should receive the same pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment as when they left. However, employers do have the right to fire or lay off employees on FMLA leave if they would have made the same decision had the employee not taken leave.
Who Is Covered Under the Family and Medical Leave Act?
FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees. Eligible employees must have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months. They also must have worked at least 1250 hours for the employer during the 12 months immediately preceding the leave and work at a location with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius (requirements for the New Jersey FLA are slightly different). Employees who take leave to serve in the U.S. military can count the time spent on military leave toward the hours needed to become eligible for FMLA leave.
To determine whether an employee has taken 12 weeks of leave during 12-month period, employers can use several methods to determine the 12-month period being measured. They can use a calendar year, a fixed 12-month period, such as a fiscal year or a year starting on an employee’s anniversary date, or they can use a 12-month period measured backward from the date the employee uses any FMLA leave. However, whatever method the employer uses, it must use the same method for every employee.
Contact the family and medical leave attorneys at Green Savits, LLC today by filling out the form on this page or calling (973) 695-7777 if your employer is preventing you in any way from exercising your right to family and/or medical leave.