Family and Medical Leave Act
On August 5, 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act became effective for most of the employers and employees covered by the act. The FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons, including serious health conditions that prevent the employee from working. Not only has the FMLA evolved over the years, but also the current application in the workplace environment is very complex for the employee as well as the employer.
Over the years, FMLA has evolved into a one of the most discussed and complex laws in the United States. Since 1993, over 35 million eligible workers have taken leave for family or medical reasons. For all the employers covered by the act, 80 percent reported that it had a positive effect or noticeable effect on business productivity, profitability and growth. (www.familyleavesurvey.com) As the FMLA has evolved, it has had positive effects on both employees and employers. However, even though it is very effective, it is also a very complex law.
FMLA covers private sector employers that employ 50 or more individuals. Public employers are covered under FMLA no matter how many workers they employ. The FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for childbirth or care of a child, adoption, their own serious illness or that of a close family member. To be eligible for FMLA, the employee needs to be working for at least 12 months prior to the beginning of the leave for their employer. However, those 12 months do not need to be consecutive. This would be known as “history of employment”. For example, a person employed by a company for 10 months decides to go work for another company, and later reemployed by their previous employer for an additional 10 months would meet this history portion. In addition, not only does the employee need to have worked 12 months, but regulations also state that the employee needs to have worked at least 1,250 hours during those 12 months preceding the leave. Once an employee is determined eligible for FMLA, the employer must submit the correct form to the employee. After receiving the forms the employee...