The FMLA’s official title is the Family Medical Leave Act. Its purpose is to allow employees to take unpaid time off work. Yet it only applies if you meet specific criteria.
Here are some things to understand:
Not all employers are required to adhere to it
Most government employers must abide by it, as must most schools. Private companies that employ fewer than 50 people are typically exempt. Private firms that employ more than 50 but have them spread out over a large distance might also prove to be exempt if there are not 50 employees within 75 miles of where you work.
Not all employees are eligible to claim time off under it
You must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours for your employer in the last 12 months. Working more hours in a shorter time period won’t count, as you must also have worked for them for at least 12 months.
You can only claim it for certain reasons
Fed up with winter and fancy a week of sunshine abroad but you’ve used up all your paid holiday? You cannot claim FMLA for this, as it is meant to be for family medical leave only. That is defined as:
- You are seriously ill
- Your spouse, child or parent is seriously ill, and you need to care for them
- You’ve just had a child or adopted one
You may qualify for even more time off if you need it because your spouse has gone away on active military duty.
If you feel your employer has breached the FMLA by refusing to allow you unpaid time off work. Or if they allowed it but retaliated against you somehow, seek legal help to examine your options.