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Understanding & Complying with FMLA

Employer Responsibilites


Fully 60% of all complaints filed with the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division pertain to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)!

What is FMLA?   “FMLA” refers to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is a federal law that guarantees certain employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave each year with no threat of job loss.  FMLA also requires that employers covered by the law maintain the health benefits for eligible workers just as if they were working.

FMLA is a complicated law, but the answers to the questions below can help you understand what your rights and responsibilities are under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

What Employers Does FMLA Apply to?

Only those employers that reach the minimum requirements must comply with FMLA.  All public agencies must follow FMLA rules, including State, Federal and local employers, as well as schools.  For private employers, FMLA applies to those employers who employed 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks during either this year or the previous year.

How Do I Know if I’m Eligible for FMLA?

FMLA only applies to certain employees.  First, the employee must work for a covered employer (see the question above).  Second, the employee must work for the employer for a minimum of 12 months, and at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months, before taking leave under FMLA.  Third, the employee’s job must take place at a location where at least 50 employees work, or within 75 miles of such a location.

What Sorts of Situations Qualify for FMLA Leave?

Covered employers must grant FMLA leave for one or more of the following situations:

·         The employee cannot work because of a serious medical condition.

·         The employee must care for an immediate family member that has a serious medical condition.

·         The birth and/or subsequent care of the employee’s child.

·         The placement and/or subsequent care of an adopted or foster care child.

·         A “qualifying exigency” that arises out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, child or parent is on active duty or has been called to active duty for the National Guard or Reserve in support of a contingency operation.

The above only briefly describes the “tip of the iceberg” as it pertains to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  It’s a rather complex law which requires a high level of understanding in order to apply it effectively to a company and its respective employees.  Eligible employers MUST have a clear and concise understanding of FMLA for the firm AND for its respective employees.   Federal Labor Law Consultants can cut through the “legalese” and “red tape” to clearly and concisely define the law and the responsibilities for both employers and employees. “No law is mightier than understanding – Plato”

We also specifically review an employer’s FMLA Policy for adherence to the law and advise the employer regarding any areas which may be problematic or would violate current FMLA criteria.

And, lastly, Federal Labor Law Consultants also provide “customized” education and training on FMLA to a firm’s owners as well as supervisory/management staff.  That education and training can consist of “one-on-one” consultations with owners. Or, it may require a formal classroom seminar or presentation which allows for ample questions and answers over a half day or one entire day depending on the desires of the employer.

Randolf (Randy) E. Whitmire
Randolph (Randy) E. Whitmire

Federal Wage & Hour Investigator- Retired

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"No law is mightier than understanding" - Plato