EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
Basic Leave Entitlement
FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for
the following reasons:
- For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;
- To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption or foster care;
- To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or
- For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.
Military Family Leave Entitlements
Eligible employees with a spouse, son, daughter, or parent on active duty or call to active duty status in the National
Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation may use their 12-week leave entitlement to address certain
qualifying exigencies. Qualifying exigencies may include attending certain military events, arranging for alternative
childcare, addressing certain financial and legal arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, and attending
post-deployment reintegration briefings.
FMLA also includes a special leave entitlement that permits eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to
care for a covered servicemember during a single 12-month period. A covered servicemember is a current member of
the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who has a serious injury or illness
incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her
duties for which the servicemember is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy; or is in outpatient
status; or is on the temporary disability retired list.
Benefits and Protections
During FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s health coverage under any “group health plan” on
the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be
restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an
Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, for 1,250 hours over the
previous 12 months, and if at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
Definition of Serious Health Condition
A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either an
overnight stay in a medical care facility, or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either
prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job, or prevents the qualified family member
from participating in school or other daily activities.
Subject to certain conditions, the continuing treatment requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than
3 consecutive calendar days combined with at least two visits to a health care provider or one visit and a regimen of
continuing treatment, or incapacity due to pregnancy, or incapacity due to a chronic condition. Other conditions may
meet the definition of continuing treatment.
Use of Leave
An employee does not need to use this leave entitlement in one block. Leave can be taken intermittently or on a
reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for
planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Leave due to qualifying exigencies
may also be taken on an intermittent basis.
Substitution of Paid Leave for Unpaid Leave
Employees may choose or employers may require use of accrued paid leave while taking FMLA leave. In order to
use paid leave for FMLA leave, employees must comply with the employer’s normal paid leave policies.
Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable. When
30 days notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and generally must comply
with an employer’s normal call-in procedures.
Employees must provide sufficient information for the employer to determine if the leave may qualify for FMLA
protection and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. Sufficient information may include that the employee
is unable to perform job functions, the family member is unable to perform daily activities, the need for
hospitalization or continuing treatment by a health care provider, or circumstances supporting the need for military
family leave. Employees also must inform the employer if the requested leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave
was previously taken or certified. Employees also may be required to provide a certification and periodic
recertification supporting the need for leave.
Covered employers must inform employees requesting leave whether they are eligible under FMLA. If they are the
notice must specify any additional information required as well as the employees’ rights and responsibilities. If they
are not eligible, the employer must provide a reason for the ineligibility.
Covered employers must inform employees if leave will be designated as FMLA-protected and the amount of leave
counted against the employee’s leave entitlement. If the employer determines that the leave is not FMLA-protected,
the employer must notify the employee.
Unlawful Acts by Employers
FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:
- Interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right protected under FMLA;
- Discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.
An employee may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or may bring a private lawsuit against an
FMLA does not affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination, or supersede any State or local law or
collective bargaining agreement which provides greater family or medical leave rights.
FMLA section 109 (29 U.S.C. § 2619) requires FMLA covered employers to post the text of this notice.
Regulations 29 C.F.R. § 825.300 (a) may require additional disclosures.
For additional information:
1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243) TTY: 1-877-889-5627