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How the FMLA Affects Employees and Employers

It's important for both employers and employees to understand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year while being guaranteed job protection and requiring that their group health benefits be maintained.

The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor offers a guide for employers that gives an overview of the administration process. While the guide is crafted specifically for employers, it also offers valuable insight for employees. Both sides are affected by the FMLA.

How the FMLA affects employers

Human resources professionals, managers and employers should know the rules and procedures of the FMLA. This is where the guide by the Department of Labor is particularly helpful. It walks through the process for what both employers and employees must do to facilitate an employee's request for taking leave under the FMLA.

If an employee is eligible under the FMLA and needs time off because he or she or an immediate family member has a serious illness, the FMLA requires the employer to accommodate the employee's request for time off. The leave is unpaid, but the employer must guarantee that the employee still has a job when he or she returns to work.

How the FMLA affects employees

For employees, knowing when they can use the FMLA can make taking medical leave less stressful. It is also valuable to understand the specific rules and regulations surrounding the FMLA so that you know when your rights are being violated and can hire an attorney.

The FMLA protects you if you need to take leave for a medical situation involving you or an immediate family member. There are limitations and requirements you must follow as an employee, such as submitting a request to take leave under the FMLA to your employer and providing your employer with proof of your or your immediate family member's medical condition, but it is an important tool for protecting your rights.

Am I eligible?

The FMLA applies to all public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. However, employees working for one of these types of employers are eligible for leave under the FMLA only if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more people within 75 miles.

There are many common ways to violate the FMLA. Both employers and employees can avoid potential problems if they familiarize themselves with the rules of the FMLA.

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