According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave with job protection to eligible employees. Over the course of a year, employers can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their own medical needs, or to see to the medical needs of a family member. Additionally, employees who are caring for an injured or ill service member who is a part of their immediate family are entitled to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a given year.
It is crucial that employers honor the terms of FMLA when applicable. It is also important for eligible employees to be fully aware of their rights under the act. This will allow you to identify the following violations and take swift action to have them corrected.
Employers must make FMLA policies known
Employee handbooks contain essential information, including information regarding FMLA. Employers should detail the rights afforded by the act, while also providing information on how leave hours will be calculated. If this information is lacking, employers lose their rights to mandate tracking methods. Instead, the employees will be afforded the power to decide their own tracking methods when taking their unpaid leave.
Employers must give written to notice to employees on leave
It is not enough to simply inform workers that their leave was accepted. Employers are obligated to offer written notice, which can include information about leave hours. In the event employers fail to provide such notice and a dispute arises regarding how much leave a worker has taken, the employee may have legal recourse against the employer.
Employers must properly determine eligibility
In order for a worker to be eligible, he or she must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the 12 months proceeding the leave request. Additionally, the employer must have 50 or more employees who work within a 75-mile radius of the workplace. If these criteria are satisfied, workers must receive their unpaid leave. Employers that deny leave to eligible workers can be subject to legal reprisal, including a lawsuit.