Overview: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed to help employees achieve a balance between work and family responsibilities, by giving eligible employees a reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons, and to promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.
FMLA leave can be an administrative challenge for employers because employees may take leave in a single block of consecutive days or on an intermittent or reduced-schedule basis. In addition, the FMLA has strict rules in many areas, such as:
When an employee requests, takes, or returns from FMLA leave, the employer must also be sure to comply with numerous other overlapping laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Workers' Compensation.
In addition, several states have laws that provide family and medical leave rights to employees working for employers with fewer employees than what is required by the FMLA, offer a longer period of leave beyond the FMLA's 12 weeks, provide leave for conditions and circumstances not covered by the FMLA, or even offer certain levels of wage replacement in some circumstances.
When considering any issues relating to the FMLA, employers must check to see if their state law also applies.
Trends: The EEOC is targeting employers that have policies that require termination of employees who previously qualified for leave under the FMLA but whose medical conditions prevent them from returning to work when they exhaust their 12-week leave entitlement.
The EEOC contends that employers must engage in the ADA's interactive process with employees in such situations in order to determine whether or not the employee has a disability and may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation (including extended leave) that would enable the employee to perform his or her essential job functions.
Therefore, an employer should not include language in its FMLA policy that indicates that employees who fail to return from FMLA leave will be subject to automatic termination.
Many states are expanding who is considered a covered family member under the FMLA. For example, several states include domestic partners, grandparents, brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles.
Author: Melissa S. Burdorf, JD, Legal Editor
California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has published proposed regulations that would amend the current regulations to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).
The FMLA: Kentucky and FMLA: Virginia sections of the Employment Law Manual have been updated to reflect two recent court cases that impact the rights of same-sex couples in both states.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Kentucky employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA
In-depth review of the spectrum of Virginia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New Jersey employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.
As mandated by the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights, all District of Columbia employers subject to the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act of 1990 must post the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act Poster.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New York employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.
As mandated by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, every employer, employment agency and labor organization covered by the New Jersey Family Leave Act must post the New Jersey Family Leave Act Poster.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Maine employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Minnesota employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to FMLA
HR and legal consideration on complying with and administering FMLA leave. Guidance and support on following all of the FMLA rules and regulations.