The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) came into effect in 1993 in the United States of America. It is a federal law wherein it is mandatory for covered employers to grant unpaid and job-secure leave to employees for qualified family and medical reasons. These reasons include adoption, pregnancy, family or personal illness, residency of a child in foster care or family military leave. The Wage and Hour Division in the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for administering the act.
The bill was a fundamental content of President Clinton’s first term agenda. The bill was signed into law by President Clinton on February 2, 1993.
The purpose of FMLA is to “To grant family and temporary medical leave under certain circumstances”. It is aimed at providing a fair unpaid leave to employees in case of an emergent situation.
What Is The Implication Of FMLA?
Under FMLA, qualified employees are granted up till twelve weeks of leave which is unpaid. This leave can be taken in a given time frame of twelve months under circumstances such as pregnancy or newborn child care, foster care or child adoption or for grievous health condition of a parent, spouse, employee or child. The eligibility criteria for the employee under FMLA are as follows:
- Must be in business for a minimum of 12 months
- Must have completed a minimum 1,250 work hours
- Must have worked at a place where at least 50 people are employed within 75 miles
There were two important amendments made to FMLA in the years 2008 and 2010 to provide leave entitlements in order to benefit military families. These amendments together are sometimes referred to as military FMLA.
Military Caregiver Leave
This is applicable to entitled employees who are also the father, mother, offspring, next of kin or spouse of a covered service person. Under FMLA, this employee is entitled to a leave of twenty six weeks during any given time frame of twelve months to provide care for a service person that is undergoing therapy, recuperation or medical treatment. This service person must be in outpatient status or temporarily retired due to disability caused by grave disease or wound sustained during the duty.
Both, the reserve and active duty sectors of the Armed Forces are covered under this provision. This means that families of members of any of these components are eligible for this leave.
Qualifying Exigency Leave
A suitable employee who is also the parent, spouse, daughter or son of a military member is entitled to receive twelve weeks of leave under FMLA during any particular time frame of twelve months. The issues covered under this provision are those that arise when the service person is deployed to another country. They may be different under different circumstances such as making arrangements for childcare, arranging for appropriate legal and financial resources, attending functions sponsored by the military, etc. This also applies to both – reserve and active duty components.