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What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?


There are a number of federal and state protections for employees, among them the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law guarantees 12 work-weeks of unpaid leave every year to employees who meet specific requirements, without fear of losing their jobs. It is a complicated law, but the protections of the FMLA offer millions of workers the ability to take leave for medical and familial reasons.

What Qualifies as FMLA Leave?

If you work for a covered employer, they are required to provide you with leave for any of the following situations:

  • You cannot work because of a serious medical condition.
  • You must care for an immediate family member who has a serious medical condition.
  • You need time off for the birth and subsequent care of a new child.
  • You are adopting or fostering a new child, and need time to care for them.
  • A qualifying exigency that is due to the fact that you, your spouse, your child, or your parent is on active duty or has been called to active duty for the National Guard or Reserve to support a contingency operation.

Is My Employer Covered by the FMLA?

This Act only applies to specific employers who meet the minimum requirements for the FMLA. Any public agency, including schools and local, state, and federal employers. For private companies, the FMLA applies to companies with more than 50 employees who are employed for at least 20 work-weeks during the year or previous year.

How Does My Employer Determine the 12-Month Period?

There are several methods that are allowed under the FMLA to determine what a 12-month period is. These are:

  • The calendar year
  • A fixed “leave year” that uses a specific period, like the fiscal year or the employee’s work anniversary to make the year
  • A 12-month period beginning with the time the employee’s first FMLA leave begins
  • A 12-month period that counts backward from the date an employee’s first FMLA leave date

Learn More From Our Memphis Employment Lawyers – (901) 209-5500

Have you been denied FMLA leave when you believe you were entitled to leave? Let our Memphis employment law attorneys help you determine if you have a case. At Donati Law, PLLC, you will gain the benefits of having more than 100 years of combined experience on your side. Learn how we can help you fight for your rights.

Contact our team today by calling (901) 209-5500.

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