Under the FMLA
By Rukin Hyland Doria & Tindall
Family and Medical Leave Act
O The federal Family and Medical Leave Act
(FMLA) requires covered employers to
provide qualified employees with 12 unpaid
days of leave from work during a 12 month
period for certain purposes, such as the
birth or adoption of a child or caring for an
immediate family member with a serious
Family and Medical Leave Act (cont.)
O The FMLA applies to public employers, such as
local, state and federal government agencies. It
also applies to private employers who have at
least 50 employees in 20 or more workweeks in
the current or preceding year and who are
engaged in interstate commerce or an industry
or activity affecting interstate commerce.
O For employees to be eligible for FMLA leave, they
must have worked for the employer for at least
12 months and have worked a minimum of
1250 hours during those 12 months in a
location with at least 50 employees.
O During the employee’s period of FMLA leave,
the employer is required to continue to
provide group health care benefits for the
employee so long as the employee was
enrolled in the plan prior to the leave.
O This means the employer must continue to
pay its portion of the expenses while the
employee must continue to pay his or her
share of the premiums.
Health Insurance (cont.)
O Employers may be entitled to stop paying health care benefits if:
O The employee informs the employer he or she will not be returning to work at
the end of the leave period
O The employee does not return to work at the end of the leave period
O The employee is 30 or more days delinquent in making the premium
O If the employee fails to make his or her premium payment, the employer is
required by law to provide the employee with at least 15 days notice that the
health insurance coverage will be cancelled if payment is not received.
O Also, in cases where the employee fails to return to work after a FMLA leave, the
employer may seek to have the employee repay any health care expenses covered
by the employer during the time period.
O Once an employee returns to work after the
leave period has ended, the employer is required
by the FMLA to restore the employee to his or
her former job or to an equivalent job, which is
defined as one having equivalent pay, benefits
and other employment conditions.
O However, if the employee meets the definition of
a “key employee,” the employer does not have to
return the employee to his or her former position
if it would cause the employer “substantial and
grievous economic injury.”
O Key employees are highly paid, salaried
employees ranking among the highest
earning 10 percent of all of the employees
within 75 miles of the work site.
O Employers are required to provide specific
types of notices to key employees alerting
them to the fact they are considered key
employees and whether or not they will be
restored to their employment position.
Other Employer Duties
O Some of the other duties the FMLA imposes on employers include:
O Employers may not count any time taken as FMLA leave against an
employee’s attendance record
O Employers must post a notice of employee rights under the FMLA and
approved by the US Secretary of Labor in the workplace
O Employers must provide written notice to employees of their rights
under the FMLA and any consequences employees may face if they do
not return to work after taking FMLA time
O Employers may not create policies that interfere with an employee’s
rights to take FMLA time
O Employers cannot retaliate against employees who take FMLA leave, or
participate in internal or external investigations against an employer
regarding their FMLA policies
O To learn more about employer’s duties under the FMLA, contact an
experienced employment law attorney today.