Human Resource professionals are often asked by their employees about taking a leave of absence. Sometimes, these leaves of absences are protected by the federal government. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain medical and family reasons. It is important to understand the ins and outs of this regulation, not only for your employees, but also to avoid potential penalties from the Department of Labor.
Step 1: Determining if you are a covered employer.
A covered employer is a:
Step 2: Determining if your employee is eligible for FMLA.
An eligible employee is one who:
Please note, the 1,250 hours of service does not have to be consecutive. If any employee has a break in service that lasted more than seven years, the time worked prior to the break will not count unless the break is due to service covered by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) or there is a written agreement, including a collective bargaining agreement, outlining the employer’s intention to rehire the employee after the break in service.
Step 3: Determining the length of leave entitlement
Eligible employees may take up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
Please note, additional time may be provided to care for a servicemember, when the employee is the spouse, daughter, son, parent or next of kin of the employee.
Step 4: Notice
Employees must comply with their employer’s usual and customary requirements for requesting leave and provide enough information for their employer to reasonably determine whether the FMLA may apply to the leave request. Employees generally must request leave 30 days in advance when the need for leave is foreseeable. When the need for leave is foreseeable less than 30 days in advance or is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as possible and practicable under the circumstances.
Covered employers must:
As you are likely aware, FMLA regulations can be quite complex. The above is just a summary of the various rules that apply to FMLA. At Innovative, we are committed to ensuring that our clients are up to date on regulations and guidance from various federal agencies. We strongly advise that Human Resource professionals review their current FMLA practices to ensure that employees are provided with accurate information and so that the employer avoids potential penalties. We hope you will join us at our office in Moorestown, NJ for a Lunch N Learn on April 13th. This seminar will focus on potential solutions to leave management and your current FMLA practices.