FMLA Part I: Who Is Eligible?

During our many years of service to our clients, the regulation that brings the most questions is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In a concentrated effort to answer questions and bring clarity to the Act, we are going to divide the FMLA information into three distinct parts and actually give you links to appropriate forms directly from the Department of Labor website.

The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 work weeks, consecutive or intermittent, depending on the circumstances, unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Employees are eligible if they:

  • Work for a covered employer
  • Have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months
  • Work in the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

There are a few exceptions related to military service. If an employee had a break in service during the 12 month employment requirement or 1,250-hour requirement due to fulfillment of the employee’s National Guard or Reserve military service obligation, the time performing the military services counts in determining whether the employee has been employed for at least 12 months or 1,250 hours. Additionally, there are military family leave entitlements, including military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave. Military caregiver leave allows eligible employees up to 26-weeks (in a single 12 month period) unpaid leave to care for a service member with a serious illness or injury that is the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin. To find out more details on military caregiver leave and what is classified as a “qualifying exigency,” click here to be directed to the Department of Labor website.

Our next post in the series will discuss leave entitlement.

*This article is intended to provide general guidance and should not be considered legal advice.

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