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What All Employees Should Know About the FMLA

February 10, 2017 Family and Medical Leave Act Claims

When and why you can take FMLA leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is something that few workers are familiar with – that is, until they need to use it.

Unfortunately, people who aren’t familiar with their rights are more likely to be taken advantage of. We see it happen all the time.

Let’s discuss some things that all workers should be aware of when it comes to the FMLA.

Which Employers Have to Comply with the FMLA?

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

However, it’s important to note that the FMLA does not apply to every organization.

In terms of private employers, the FMLA generally applies to private-sector companies with 50 or more employees.

Public employers at the local, state, and federal levels may also be bound by the FMLA, no matter how many employees they have. Public and private elementary and secondary schools are also generally required to comply with the FMLA regardless of the number of employees.

Who is Covered by the FMLA?

It’s also important to know that not everyone is covered by the FMLA. You may be eligible for the FMLA if you:

  • work for a covered employer
  • have accumulated at least 1,250 hours of service for your employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave (however those 12 months do not have to consecutive), and
  • work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

People who have a break in employment due to military service may be subjected to special rules in terms of hours-of-service requirements.

When Can You Take FMLA Leave?

If you’re eligible for FMLA, you may be able to take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the birth of a son or daughter
  • placement of a son or daughter in your home for adoption or foster care
  • to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition
  • for a serious health condition that renders you unable to perform the essential functions of your job
  • for any qualifying urgent need or demand arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status

What You Should Know About Intermittent Leave

You may also be eligible to take FMLA leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis. That means you may take leave in separate blocks of time or by reducing the time you work each day or week for a single qualifying reason.

For example, you may want to take FMLA leave to attend to recurring medical treatments, such as physical therapy or cardiac rehabilitation.

If FMLA leave is for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, you may be able to use intermittent leave upon your employer’s approval. Under certain conditions, it is lawful for employers to require you to take sick or vacation leave as part of your FMLA leave, however, that depends on the company’s normal leave policy.

In addition, the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a servicemember may also take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember who has sustained a serious injury or illness.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you believe that your rights under the FMLA have been violated, it’s wise to speak to an attorney to find out about your rights.

Email us at, or call (267) 273-1054 for a free consultation.