Attorney from law firm Arcadier and Associates, P.A., of Melbourne, Florida, discusses in a video-law format, the basics of the Family Medical Leave Act otherwise known as the FMLA. Because the FMLA is a federal law act established through Congress, it is applicable to all the States including United States territories where United States jurisdiction applies.
The Family Medical Leave Act applies to companies with 50 or more employees that work within 75 miles of where the employee seeking FMLA leave works at. Additionally, the employee seeking FMLA leave benefits must have worked for the employer for at least one year or 1,250 hours. Although the FMLA leave does not provide direct economic or pecuniary benefits, it does permit employees to have their job protected for up to 12 weeks in a calendar, fiscal or rolling year, and to continue with employment related benefits such as health care and disability coverage. There are exceptions such as end of employment due to unrelated financial issues that a company is undergoing which legitimately eliminates the employee’s position, as well as key-man exceptions where the company must hire or replace employee because it would be significantly detrimental to the company not to have a replacement. Additionally, during FMLA leave, the employee is entitled to use all of his or her accrued sick leave and vacation pay. If those are exhausted, and the employee does not otherwise have short term disability coverage, the remainder of the allotted FMLA time is unpaid.
In addition to regular FMLA leave for periods of time not to exceed twelve weeks, and employee is also entitled to take intermittent FMLA leave for conditions which require short, and sporadic medical treatment or time off as a result of medical necessities and the taking of medications.
The Family Medical Leave Act also has other requirements that employees must fulfill in order to have coverage such as completing FMLA approved DOL forms, cooperating with employer to provide information of their medical ailments, and to notify employer of the need to take FMLA leave. The Family Medical Leave Act nonetheless recognizes that many medical conditions arise unexpectedly and as such, oftentimes, prior notice is not possible. Therefore, employees must provide prior notice as soon as it is possible for the employee or their relative to provide such notice.
A common mistake employees make is to withhold medical information requested by employer. Employees are oftentimes under the incorrect believe that their medical information is privileged or confidential. Oftentimes, this is the case. However, once an employee places his or her medical condition at issue, the employer has a right to inquire the specific issues concerning the medical condition, and to contest the legitimacy of the medical condition. Such is the case under the FMLA, as well as other statutes and regulations such as the ADA AA and reasonable accommodation requests which are based on the medical condition
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