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Family Medical Leave Act - FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act was signed into law on February 5th, 1993 by President Bill Clinton and is administered by the Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor. This law acknowledges the hardships associated with balancing both work and familial obligations. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period to eligible, insured employees for any of the following family and/or medical reasons:

  • Birth and care of child
  • Situating for adoption or foster care of child
  • To care for an immediate family member who has a serious health condition
  • Care of self for serious health condition making employee unable to function at full capacity at their workplace
  • Military Leave Entitlements – covered military member with a serious injury of illness requiring assistance, who is next of kin to the employee – this would be considered military caregiver leave

According to FMLA regulations, some employer requirements include the restoration of the same or similar working position, mainly in regards to wages, to the employee upon their return to work and the preservation of employee benefits while on leave, in the case of any health coverage provided by the employer. The FMLA also protects employees from potential retaliation, discrimination, and/or revocation of rights by their employer. If such injustice happens to occur, the employee has the option to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or file a private lawsuit against the employer.

The FMLA applies to:

  • Employees that would have been working for a business having 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of the workplace
  • Employees that would have worked for the employer a minimum of 1,250 hours within a 12 month period

The FMLA does NOT apply to:

  • Employees working in business with less than 50 employees
  • Employees working part-time (less than 1,250 hours within a 12 month period)
  • Employees requiring a leave period to care for elderly relatives or household pets
  • Employees requiring recovery time from short-term illness or those who need frequent time off for medical appointments
  • Employees requiring time off to take care of a family member with a short-term illness

An employee seeking to go on medical leave must inform their employers at least 30 days prior to their intended parting date. The employee must also provide satisfactory information for their employer in order to confirm that they qualify for FMLA protection. If the employee does indeed qualify for FMLA coverage, the employer must provide adequate information informing the employee of their rights. If the employee is not eligible, the employer must specify a reason for their ineligibility.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

FMLA – Compliance Assistance Materials

Health Benefits, Retirement Standards, and Workers’ Compensation: Family and Medical Leave

FMLA law Family Medical Leave Act update, Latest cases on FMLA Law

Fact Sheet #28:  The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

The Family and Medical Leave Act Overviewed

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Poster

Benefits Available for Families



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