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When are Employees Entitled to Leave Under FMLA?

FMLA ActOccasionally we are asked questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). We receive a variety of questions regarding FMLA including questions about leave entitlement. For example:

  • Is our practice required to comply with FMLA?
  • If so, under what circumstances can an employee request leave under FMLA?

First, we need to determine if the healthcare practice is considered a Covered Employer:

  • Does the healthcare practice employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current of preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer?
  • Or does the healthcare practice part of a part of a public agency – including local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs?

If we one of the above are checked, the healthcare practice is a Covered Employer.

From there, we need to determine if the employee is an Eligible Employee:  

  • Works for a covered employer.
  • Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months.
  • Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12-month period* immediately preceding the leave; and
  • Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

*Important note about the 12-month period: the 12 months of employment are not required to be consecutive. Meaning, any time previously worked for the same employer could, in most cases, be used to meet the 12-month requirement.

If all of the above apply, the employee is considered to be an Eligible Employee under FMLA.

The Eligible Employee is entitled to up to 12 work weeks of leave during a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

There are a few circumstances that can be considered. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Labor an eligible employee may also take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a "single 12-month period" to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member.  

Employee Must Provide Notice

Employees must comply with their employer's usual and customary requirements for requesting leave and provide enough information for their employer to reasonably determine whether the FMLA may apply to the leave request.

Employees generally must request leave 30 days in advance when the need for leave is foreseeable. When the need for leave is foreseeable less than 30 days in advance or is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as possible and practicable under the circumstances.Have questions about FMLA? We can help. Contact Healthcare Compliance Pros today by phone 855-427-0427 or by email: [email protected].

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