Family Medical Leave Act
Sometimes, a medical emergency or serious condition requires an employee to take time off from work. This could involve the employee’s own medical needs or the needs of a close family member. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures that qualified employees working for covered employers are able to take time off without fear of termination or other retaliation by their employers.
If an employer violates someone’s rights under the FMLA, that person may be able to recover damages in a civil lawsuit. Charles W. Miller & Associates’ Louisville Family and Medical Leave Act attorneys have extensive experience litigating FMLA claims for workers in Indiana and Kentucky.
What is the FMLA and Who Does it Cover?
U.S. Congress passed the FMLA in 1993. Part of the law’s purpose was “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families.” Toward that end, the FMLA applies to private employers with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius during 20 or more weeks of the current or previous calendar year. The law covers all government agencies at the state and local levels, regardless of the number of employees, as well as public and private schools. Federal employees are covered by separate provisions of the FMLA.
How Long Do You Have to Work to be Eligible for FMLA?
In order to qualify for FMLA leave, employees must meet certain criteria. Specifically, they must:
- Work for a covered employer within 75 miles of a location where the employer employs at least 50 people;
- Have at least 12 months of total work experience with the employer, not necessarily consecutively; and
- Have at least 1,250 work hours during the 12-month period immediately prior to the date FMLA leave will begin.
How Long is Family Medical Leave in Kentucky?
Qualifying employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period, not necessarily a calendar year, for “serious” medical conditions. The 12 weeks do not have to be consecutive. The employer may not interfere with the employee’s leave, prevent the employee from taking leave, or retaliate against the employee for exercising rights under the FMLA.
The medical condition requiring FMLA leave may be one affecting the employee or the employee’s spouse, child, or parent. The FMLA covers a worker’s serious illness, the illness of a close relative, and injury to a family member in military service. It also covers time needed to care for a new child, whether through childbirth, adoption, or foster care.
When can I take leave under FMLA?
You can take FMLA leave to provide care for your spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition, or when your own serious health concerns are preventing you from being able to work.
The most standard reasons that qualify you for FMLA leave include:
- Situations with a necessary overnight stay in a hospital or other medical care facility
- When you or your family member are incapacitated for three chronological days or more and require ongoing medical treatment
- On and off periods of chronic health issues when you or your family member require treatment and are immobilized at least twice per year
- If you are pregnant, coverage includes prenatal medical appointments, bedridden as a result of morning sickness, and medically required bed rest
If you believe you qualify for FMLA leave and was not granted it by your employer, Charles W. Miller & Associates is here to help protect your rights! Give us a call today for a FREE consultation!
Employee Remedies for Violations by Employers
Employees may bring civil claims against an employer for alleged FMLA violations. The statute allows an employee to recover wages, benefits, and other compensation lost due to the violation or actual damages sustained by the employee. It also allows equitable relief, such as reinstatement after wrongful termination.
If you believe that your employer has violated the Family and Medical Leave Act, an experienced Louisville FMLA attorney at our firm can review your case, advise you of your rights, and help you fight to recover your just compensation. Since 2003, Charles W. Miller & Associates has helped countless clients across Indiana and Kentucky with their employment and labor law needs.
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