Family Medical Leave Act is one of the many federal laws applicable to government contractors.

Employers subject to federal Family Medical Leave Act:

  • private employers with at least 50 employees
  • local, state, and federal government agency employers regardless of size
  • elementary and secondary schools regardless of size (special rules for local schools)

Employer obligations:

  • continue employee health insurance (employee may be required to make normal contributions)
  • return employee to same or nearly identical job after FMLA leave (exception for certain “key” employees)
  • cannot hold FMLA leave against the employee in hiring, promotions or discipline
  • respond to employee FMLA leave request within 5 business days
  • give employee notice of specific employee rights and responsibilites along with employer’s leave eligibility response
  • medical certifications may be required

Employee eligibility requirements:

  • must have worked for employer at least 12 months (seasonal work can qualify)
  • must have worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 months before take leave under Family Medical Leave Act
  • must work at a location where employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of worksite
  • special eligibility rules for airline flight attendants and flight crews

Family Medical Leave Act rules:

  • up to 12 weeks unpaid FMLA leave in any 12 month period
  • employee can use sick leave or vacation time along with FMLA leave to get paid for the duration of the paid leave benefits
  • employer can require employee to use paid leave during FMLA leave
  • use FMLA leave to care for spouse, child or parent who has serious health condition
  • use FMLA leave for your own serious health condition when unable to work

What is considered a serious health condition?

  • requires overnight stay in hospital or medical care facility
  • incapacitates you or family member for more than 3 consecutive days and have ongoing medical treatment
  • chronic condition that cause occasional periods of incapacity requiring treatment at least twice a year
  • pregnancy including prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to sickness, and medically required bed rest

Birth of a child:

  • FMLA leave for birth of a child or for placement of a child for adoption or foster care
  • men and women have same rights to FMLA leave to bond with child
  • leave must be taken within one year of birth or placement
  • leave must be taken as a continuous block of time unless employer agrees to allow intermittent leave such as part-time schedule

Military Family Leave:

  • up to 26 weeks FMLA leave in a 12-month period to care for covered servicemember with serious injury or illness
  • FMLA leave related to certain military deployments

Stepchildren and others included under FMLA:

  • stepchildren and foster children
  • legal wards (guardianships for minors)
  • “in loco parentis”  – those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child with no biological or legal relationship

For a  summary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for employees, see the following guide:

Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide – United States Department of Labor

For detailed federal regulations implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act, , see Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):

Title 29 – Labor – Part 825.

Many states also have laws covering family and medical leave for employees working in that state.  Contact Hindson & Melton LLC for assistance with your FMLA questions and compliance needs.
Karen S. Hindson    August 10, 2012