The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most important laws covering employees. It protects employees from losing their jobs if they need to take unpaid leave for illness — their own or a family member’s — childbirth, adoption, or caregiving. Unfortunately, some mid-sized employers and many managers don’t understand their employees’ rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. They sometimes deny reasonable requests for leave. They may penalize employees for taking leave. The decision to take even a short term medical leave may factor into a layoff decision. That is illegal, and you should speak with a North Carolina employment lawyer to learn your rights.

If you have questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act or believe your rights were violated because you took or were denied leave, talk to an attorney at Van Kampen Law. We are one of the few law firms in North Carolina that focuses exclusively on employment law. Our attorneys can explain your rights under the law — your right to take the leave you need, and your right not to be penalized for doing so.

Answering Your Questions About the FMLA

Who is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Unfortunately, not all employees are protected by the FMLA. The law applies only to companies with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. In order to be covered, you must have worked at least 1250 hours in the previous 12 calendar months.

What kinds of medical conditions are covered by the FMLA?

“Serious health conditions,” which are defined as those that could be incapacitating for at least 3 business days. This could cover chemotherapy, cancer treatments, knee surgery, pregnancy problems, the flu, or even severe migraines.

How much time can employees take off?

Up to 12 weeks in 12 calendar months.

Are employees required to take all their FMLA leave at once?

No, you are not. You could take three weeks to recover after a knee surgery, go back to work for a few days, discover you are having difficulties for which your doctor recommends more time off — and take another three weeks of leave. Or, you could use part of your leave for an illness, then use more another time when you need to stay home to take care of a sick family member. You can even potentially use FMLA intermittently to work partial work weeks until you’re able to resume full-time status.

The Family and Medical Leave Act was created so employees did not have to choose between their health and their jobs. Take the leave you need and are legally entitled to have. If you need help understanding your rights or getting your employer to follow the law, contact Van Kampen Law for a consultation with an employment lawyer.