FMLA applies to workers in Rhode Island and all other states because it’s a federal law. However, there are certain eligibility requirements under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Some states, including Rhode Island, offer additional protections with their own state legislation for people who need to take time off work for medical care or looking after a family member.
The FMLA applies to employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours and at least 12 months for their employer. Your 12 months of employment don’t need to be consecutive as long as there wasn’t a gap of more than seven years. Exceptions to this seven-year rule are when it was because of a written agreement or military service.
As for the 1,250 hours part of the law, only actual work hours count. The work hours must also be within the past 12 months before you request FMLA leave.
Eligibility for protection under the FMLA also depends on how many employees work for your company. Private-sector employers must allow you FMLA leave if you meet the eligibility requirements and they employ at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius. This number is based on the preceding calendar year. If you work for a state or the federal government, then this particular requirement doesn’t apply.
Examples of situations that qualify
You could request FMLA leave to take care of a newborn, bond with an adopted child or prepare for the birth of a child. Taking care of a spouse, parent or child who has a serious health condition is also possible under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
An eligible situation that isn’t as well-known is transitioning to active duty in the military. Spouses are also eligible to request FMLA leave when their spouse transitions to active duty.
The eligibility requirements for FMLA come with a few exceptions, so it’s important to check the details. You may be able to request FMLA leave to handle your family responsibilities without stress over your employer cutting you for it.