Who qualifies for Family and Medical Leave?

Arizona law contains the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). This law applies to employers who have more than 50 employees.

Under the FMLA, a qualifying employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for designated reasons.

Employee requirements

To use leave under the FMLA, an employee has to have worked for an employer subject to the Act for at least 12 months before requesting the leave. You also must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the year before using the leave.

Allowable circumstances

The purpose of family and medical leave is to allow employees time to take care of themselves or a family member with a severe illness or injury. You can also use this leave to care for a newborn child or when you adopt or foster a child.

The FMLA specifies that a serious illness requires you to get inpatient care, makes you incapacitated for some time or requires follow-up treatment after inpatient care.

Employer responsibilities

An employee using family and medical leave does not get paid by the company during the leave. However, your employer must maintain your health benefits during your leave. The payments for health benefits continue as if you were not on leave, so you will need to pay any portion of the premium you usually do. In addition, the employer must preserve your employment status with the company and cannot terminate you. The employer can move you to another position upon return but cannot reduce your salary or benefits.

The FMLA protects workers who must take time off due to illness or care for a family member.