Top 5 Things You Should Know About the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Employment / Personal Injury / Business


When it comes to employment law, it is vitally important that both companies and their employees know what each party’s rights are. Today’s post will focus on the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. If you have any questions about your rights with regard to medical leave, please do not hesitate to contact me.

#1: What is the FMLA?

The FMLA is a federal law which entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.  Some states, like New Jersey, also have their own Family Leave Act.  Pennsylvania does not.

#2: What is a Covered Employer?

The Department of Labor (DOL) defines a covered employer as one of the following:

• Private-sector employer, with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer;

• Public agency, including a local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs; or

• Public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs.

#3: What makes an Employee Eligible for FMLA?

The DOL identifies eligible employees as those meeting the following four criteria:

• Works for a covered employer;

• Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months;

• Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave*; and

• Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

#4:  What Conditions are Covered?

  • A person’s own serious medical condition
  • To provide care for a child, spouse or parent with a serious medical condition
  • The birth of a child
  • Placement of a child through adoption or foster care

(For birth or placement of a child, leave is only afforded during the first twelve months after the birth or placement)

 #5: How is the FMLA enforced?

A person who believes they are entitled to leave and their leave was unlawfully denied or interfered with, or who has been retaliated against for taking or requesting leave, may seek relief through the Department of Labor or a private civil lawsuit.

The DOL has plenty of resources for those looking for more information about FMLA.  You can visit the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division website at or call their helpline at 1-866-4-USWAGE.

Got a question that we didn’t cover? Need legal advice? Call our Yardley office at 215-493-8287 or send us an email HERE

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