Who Is Protected by the Family Medical Leave Act?


The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law intended to allow employees to take unpaid leave for certain health or family-related reasons. In order to qualify for FMLA leave, certain conditions must be met. Ultimately, it is eligible employees of covered employers who are protected by the FMLA.

Eligible Employees

In order to be eligible for FMLA coverage, an employee must meet the following conditions:

  • The employee must have worked for the covered employer for at least 12 months. These don’t have to be consecutive, though there are some limitations.
  • During the 12 months of service prior to the request for FMLA leave, an employee must have put in 1,250+ hours of work.
  • The employee must work in an area where the employer has 50+ employees within 75 miles (by actual travel routes, not in a clean radius).


Reason for Leave

The reason the employee is taking leave is also important. Covered reasons include:

  • A serious health condition that keeps the employee from being able to work.
  • Caring for a family member (son, daughter, parent, or spouse) who has a serious health condition.
  • Parental bonding, whether for a newborn or an adopted child.
  • Purposes relating to a family member in the military, such as if that family member is on active duty.


Covered Employers

Only certain employers are required to give their employees leave under the FMLA. A covered employer meets any one of the following criteria:

  • Has employed 50+ employees within a 75-mile radius for 20 or more workweeks (not necessarily consecutively).
  • Is a public agency.
  • Is an elementary or secondary school.

If a private sector employer hasn’t had 50 or more employees in 20 workweeks during the past year, they are not required to provide FMLA leave.


Both Employees and Their Employers

While the law is intended to protect eligible employees, it does offer certain protections for the employer. Employees must follow certain procedures when it comes to claiming FMLA leave, such as providing adequate notice beforehand. The skilled employment attorneys, at Simon|Paschal PLLC, can help you make sure you are fully compliant with FMLA laws.

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