What is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), and what does it mean?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law that requires employers to give covered employees unpaid, job protected leave from employment. 

Coverage for employees generally requires that the employee:

  • Worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months that need not be consecutive.
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the first day of the requested leave.

Coverage for employers requires a minimum of 50 employees. Employees are not covered if both:

  • They work at a facility with fewer than a total of 50 employees.
  • The employer has fewer than a total of 50 employees working within 75 road miles of that facility.

Qualifying reasons for FMLA leave may include:

  • Birth and care of an employee’s newborn child.
  • Incapacity due to:
    • pregnancy;
    • prenatal care; or
    • the employee’s serious health condition after birth.
  • Placement of an employee’s adopted or foster child with the employee.
  • Care of an employee’s immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition.
  • The employee’s serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing the functions of the job.
  • Providing care for a family member who is a covered servicemember who has a serious injury or illness.
  • Certain qualifying emergencies because a military member is on covered active duty, is on call to covered active duty status, or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty status.

 If you’re an airline employee, there are special rules for airline flight crew employees.

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