The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide unpaid leave and continuous health insurance coverage to employees who meet certain criteria. Eligible employees are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of leave in a one-year period to care for a newborn or a newly adopted or fostered child. However, the leave must begin within one year of the birth or placement.
The employee can also request up to 12 weeks of leave for a personal health condition that interferes with job functions or to act as a caregiver for a spouse, parent or child with a serious condition. In special cases, employees qualify for leave for an urgent situation involving an active service member in the immediate family. Employers must allow up to 26 weeks of military caregiver leave within a one-year period for employees who need to care for a child, spouse or parent who is a service member.
Eligible employees must have worked 1,250 hours for a covered employer during the one-year period preceding the leave. They must also have completed at least 12 months of employment with the current employer. Businesses with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius are subject to this law, but they are not required to compensate employees during this time. While people with medical issues are allowed to break up their leave period, they are expected to make an effort to avoid scheduling conflicts whenever possible.