Dealing with FMLA Issues in the Workplace

Dealing with FMLA Issues in the Workplace

Employees have rights. They have the right to be paid for a day’s work. They have the right to work in a safe environment. And some employees even have the right to job-protected leave in certain cases. The latter is generally referred to as FMLA or the Family and Medical Leave Act. If your job is covered by FMLA, you probably received a cursory introduction to the act in your training. Chances are, it wasn’t fully explained.

What Is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows covered employees to take time off from work for specific family and medical reasons. This leave, while unpaid, protects an employee’s job and their health coverage. While an employee is not guaranteed to have their specific job upon their return, the new job must be of equivalent responsibilities and pay.

To be eligible, an employee must have worked for a covered employer for twelve months, must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding leave, and must work at a location where there are at least 50 other employees within 75 miles.

Covered employers include:

  • Public or private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of number of employees,
  • Public agencies, regardless of how many employees, including local, state, and Federal government agencies, and
  • Private-sector employers with more than 50 or more employees (there are more restrictions on this, speak to an HR representative or a Tampa employment lawyer for more information).

What Kinds of Leave Does FMLA Cover?

FMLA covers the following types of leave—

An employee may take 12 weeks of leave during a 12 month period:

  • For Childbirth, adoption, or foster care placement.
  • To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
  • For a personal health condition that limits the employee’s ability to perform their job.

An employee may also take 26 weeks of leave during a 12 month period in order to provide 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”.

Employees who are able to provide notice of their leave are expected to do so through the methods outlined by their employer. It’s a good idea to speak to an HR representative before taking leave so you can be sure to abide by whatever guidelines your company has set forth. While emergency leave can not be predicted or planned for, it is expected that notice be given as soon as possible.

In addition, employees may be required to provide proof from medical providers. Your HR representative will be able to inform you of any requirements as well as deadlines. To ensure you maintain your FMLA eligibility, make notes so you remember what you need to submit and when.

A denied claim can throw an employee’s career into jeopardy. No one should have to choose between taking care of themselves or a loved one and their job. FMLA attempts to ensure this doesn’t happen for eligible employees, however, sometimes mistakes are made that lead to issues.

Think You Have a FMLA Claim? Consult a Tampa Employment Lawyer

If you believe your rights under FMLA have been violated, speaking with a Tampa employment lawyer can help you determine what your next steps should be. With honest advice and a unique insight into employment law, they’ll be able to provide you with information regarding your rights as well as the nuances of FMLA.

Employment law can be confusing, especially with all the talk about who is covered or eligible and who isn’t. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you have been unfairly treated by your employer, a Tampa employment lawyer can help you sort out the situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out and get the legal help you need—consult with a Tampa employment lawyer today.