Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

What are the rules for employers and employees under FMLA?

People in Manhattan are often dedicated to their jobs and careers to the point that they're not aware of their rights under federal employment law. One such right is the Family and Medical Leave Act. It's important for employees and employers to know the details of the law, what the rights are and how it functions. FMLA provides employees who meet the eligibility requirements to have unpaid time off from work for certain family and medical reasons. It also provides guidelines for employers. Employees' jobs are protected while they are off.

Certain employers are subject to this law. These are private sector employers who have 50 or more employees with 20 or more workweeks in the present or prior calendar year, a public agency that is Federal, state or local entity -- it doesn't matter how many employees this entity has -- and a public or private elementary or secondary school -- it isn't important how many employees the schools employ.

Employees who are eligible for this leave are those who work for what is referred to as a covered employer. These employees have been employed for at least one year, have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year before the leave and works in a location in which the company or business employs a minimum of 50 people within 75 miles of the locations. It is not necessary for the year to include 12 consecutive months.

Employees are allowed to take as many as 12 workweeks off in a year if there is -- the birth of a child or a child is adopted, to provide care for a relative -- a child, spouse or parent -- who is seriously ill, has a health problem that leaves the employee unable to do the person's job or has a urgent need that stems from a close relative who is in the military. The worker is allowed to take six months worth of work off in a year to care for a service member who has an illness or serious injury.

Employers are required to give information regarding FMLA to their employees or they will be in violation of applicable employment law. When there is a breach in employment regulations and FMLA is not adhered to or if employees make unsubstantiated claims, pursuing or defending employment litigation can be achieved with help from a legal professional experienced in FMLA cases.

Source: Department of Labor, "Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed Jan. 14, 2015

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