Am I eligible for FMLA leave?


If you or a family member has experienced a significant life event, you may need to take some time off of work to deal with the situation. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows certain employees to take up to 12 workweeks off over the course of a year for multiple reasons, including the birth of a child, the onset of serious health conditions, or to care for a sick spouse, child or parent. Some employees may be permitted to take up to 26 workweeks off over a 12-month period to care for a covered service member with an illness or injury.

However, not all employees and employers are covered by the FMLA. The FMLA only applies to private-sector employers with 50 or more employees in a minimum of 20 workweeks in the current or previous calendar year. Public agencies and elementary or secondary schools (public or private) of all sizes are also covered.

Generally speaking, in order for employees to be entitled to FMLA leave, they must have worked for a covered employer with 50 or more employees for a minimum of 12 months. They must also have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12 months leading up to the leave.

Many Rhode Island employees are entitled to leave under the FMLA to care for themselves or their families. While the leave is unpaid, it allows employees to take time off without having to worry about losing their job. If a covered employer fails to allow an eligible employee to take FMLA leave, they could be subjected to legal consequences and be required to pay the employee damages. With this in mind, those who feel they have been treated unfairly under the law should consider speaking with a legal advocate.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed on March 6, 2017

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