What Are the FMLA Guidelines for Medical Leave?


Quick Answer

The Family and Medical Leave Act require employers to allow certain employees to take a 12-week unpaid leave under specific circumstances. During the leave, the jobs of the employees are protected while their group health benefits are maintained. The law assists workers to balance their family duties and work responsibilities.

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Full Answer

The reasons for the unpaid leave include the need to seek medical care when one is unable to work because of a serious disease, ailment or impairment. Similarly, when employees need to take care of a close family member, such as a child, spouse or parent, they can be granted leave. In addition, a pregnant mother can take advantage of the leave to give birth and take care of her infant. Fathers are also granted this right under the FMLA guidelines. Adoptive and foster parents can also use the FMLA when a child is placed in the home.

Only employees who have worked for company for at least 12 months or at least 1,250 hours in the past year are eligible for a medical leave. The FMLA came into existence in 1993 and its guidelines are applied to all public companies. Additionally, all public and private primary and secondary schools, as well as companies with 50 workers and above are required to conform to the guidelines. The United States Department of Labor, through its Wage and Hour Division, administers the act.

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