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Workers meeting these criteria qualify for FMLA

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

In the 1990s, the passage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) introduced legal protections for certain employees who time off work to care for themselves or relatives. Prior to FMLA, workers in Rhode Island and throughout the country had few federal protections when they needed a medical leave. FMLA legally obligates employers to grant up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to qualifying workers and give them their jobs back when they return. An employer must also maintain the employee’s membership in the health plan during the leave.

Which employees can take FMLA leave?

You must work at an organization with 50 or more employees whose workplaces are within 75 miles of each other for 20 or more weeks a year. These rules effectively exempt small employers from protecting the employment of people who need to go on medical leave.

However, employers with 50 employees meeting the criteria must let you take your medical leave, keep you and your dependents on the health plan and restore you to your old job or an equivalent position. Employers who do not follow these rules are committing FMLA violations. The law also protects you from retaliation, such as being fired or demoted, for taking a qualifying leave.

Acceptable reasons for FMLA leave

Your employer will likely ask for a medical certification from a doctor explaining the medical need for a leave. You may take a leave for your own health condition or to care for a spouse, child or parent suffering from a medical condition. Most any medical condition will qualify as long as your doctor certifies that you need leave. Parents may also take a leave to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child even in the absence of a serious medical condition.