What Are the Rules for the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA?


Quick Answer

Rules for the Family and Medical Leave Act stipulate that eligible employees can take 12 work weeks of qualifying unpaid leave each year without risking their jobs or medical insurance coverage, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. The leave extends to 26 work weeks to tend to military service members.

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Full Answer

Medical and family reasons that qualify for job-protected leave include childbirth and caring for the newborn child, receiving and caring for a newly adopted child, and caring for immediate relatives with serious medical problems, explains the U.S. Department of Labor. Employees can also take time off for medical conditions of their own that make them unable to work. The law allows 26 weeks of protected leave for employees to care for parents, spouses or children who are military service members with critical illnesses or injuries.

The rules of FMLA cover companies with at least 50 employees, public agencies, and elementary and secondary schools, specifies the U.S. Department of Labor. To qualify for the leave, employees must work for at least a year for at least 1,250 total hours as of 2015. The rules guarantee a returning employee equivalent job, payment and benefits but not necessarily the same job, clarifies U.S. News and World Report. Employers may require certification of medical conditions from health care providers and may also have employees use up paid leave first.

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