One of the most common questions regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act is what the law in general provides for. FMLA gives eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year, and stipulates that employers must maintain group health benefits for employees during this period. Additionally, FMLA also dictates that employees are entitled to the same or an equivalent position upon returning to work, according to the United States Department of Labor.
People often ask who is eligible for FMLA coverage. The law defines eligible employees to be those working for public agencies or private employers who employ 50 or more individuals for at least 20 workweeks in the current or previous calendar year. To be eligible for coverage, the employee must have been with the employer for at least 12 months — these do not have to be consecutive months — and the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to taking leave, states the United States Department of Labor.
Many employees ask whether vacation or sick leave counts toward the 1,250 hour requirement, or if an employer may be obligated to pay the employee during FMLA leave. In response to these inquiries, the law states that only those hours that are actually worked for an employer are included in the hours requirement. Additionally, FMLA only requires unpaid leave from the employer. Still, according to the United States Department of Labor, the law allows the employee to elect or the employer to require the employee use accrued vacation or sick time while the employee is on FMLA leave.