The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law designed to help employees balance their work and personal or family responsibilities. Qualifying workers in Idaho and other states usually get some time off work in specific situations, and they don’t have to worry about being fired for it.
Understanding the FMLA
On August 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act into law. Basically, if your employer is covered and you are eligible, you can take a job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons with the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions.
Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, have at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months before the start of their leave, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Additionally, for medical leave, the employee, their spouse, their child or their parent must have a severe health condition as defined by the FMLA.
Reasons for taking leave under the FMLA
According to employment law, employees may take FMLA leave for:
- The care of a spouse, child or parent with a severe health condition
- The employee’s own serious health condition that renders them unable to perform their job functions
- The birth or adoption of a child
- Any qualifying exigency arising from the employee’s spouse, child or parent on active military duty
Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA in a 12-month period for any combination of the reasons listed above. Employees who take leave to care for a qualifying member of the military may go for a total of 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period. Leave may be taken all at once or intermittently as needed. Upon returning, employers must restore the employee to their original or an equivalent position with the same salary, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.
The law requires employers to provide employees with notice of their eligibility for FMLA leave and information about their rights and responsibilities under the FMLA. This notice must be provided to employees either when they become eligible for FMLA leave or when they notify their employer that they need to take leave. Employees must also provide employers with adequate notice of their need for leave.
Employees who take FMLA leave sometimes face retaliation or find that their employer did not keep their job open for them. If you have had trouble with taking your rightful leave, discuss your situation with an attorney.