Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act (the “FMLA”) covers private employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. The FMLA provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in any twelve-month period for medical reasons. These reasons can include taking care of a serious health condition (the employee’s or that of a spouse, child, or parent), family military leave, or expanding the employee’s family (the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child and time to bond with the child).
To qualify for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for his or her employer for at least twelve months (althout not necessarily consecutively), and must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the preceding twelve months.
While the employee is on leave, the employer must continue to provide health insurance benefits including employer contribution to premiums. If the employee is qualified to any other benefits, they must be restored when the employee returns to work. An employee is also entitled to return to the same, or substantially equivalent, position upon return from FMLA leave. If an employee exercises his or her rights under the FMLA she is also protected from termination or any other act of retaliation, including a reduction in work hours or pay upon his or her return.
The FMLA allows an employee to sue if the employer engages in any prohibited behavior, such as refusing to allow an employee to return to work. If the lawsuit is successful the employee can recover all lost wages and other monetary costs caused by the employer’s violation. The FMLA also requires liquidated damages, also called “double damages,” in almost all cases. This means that in most cases the court automatically doubles the amount of money awarded to the employee.
For answers to your Family Medical Leave Act questions and to set up a consultation, call a Hensel Law attorney today at (336) 218-6466.