The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that exists for employees to receive a certain amount of unpaid time off if facing serious illness, birth and care of the eligible employee’s child, care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition or various other situations. This law protects your rights as an employee so that you cannot be fired for missing work due to these circumstances.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division, administers and enforces the Family Medical Leave Act for all private, state and local government employees, and some federal employees.
The FMLA entitles employees who are eligible to take up to 12 unpaid workweeks off for various health issues. Pregnancy is included in the list of eligible reasons for this leave. Caring for a newborn child makes you qualified for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. You may receive this benefit once in a 12-month period.
To be eligible to receive this benefit, you must work for a covered employer. Covered employers include all public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local schools, and private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees within 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. You must have also worked for the employer for a total of 12 months, have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and worked at a location in the U.S. or in any territory or possession of the U.S. where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within a 75 mile radius.
Maintenance of Health Benefits
Maintenance of health benefits is another benefit of FMLA. Your employer is required to maintain insurance coverage whenever such insurance was provided before the leave was taken. You do not need to worry about coming back to your job and no longer having health benefits after being out for a maternity leave.
Restoration of Job
Employers are also required to restore you to the original job you had, or to a different job with the same pay, benefits, and other terms of employment. An employee using FMLA cannot result in the termination of any employment benefit that the employee had before the leave was taken.
Employees who plan on using FMLA for their maternity leave must provide a 30-day advance notice of this to their employer. When seeking the FMLA leave for the first time, you do not need to mention the FMLA, or assert your rights.
If you have any other complaints or problems with your employer granting you an FLMA leave, the Wage and Hour Division accepts and investigates complaints.
- Family and Medical Leave Act [http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-fmla.htm]