The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees
with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also
requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave.
The FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family
responsibilities by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family
and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests
of employers, and promotes equal employment opportunity for men and
The Family & Medical Leave Act:
- covers only certain employers;
- affects only those employees eligible for the protections of the
- involves entitlement to leave;
- maintains health benefits during leave;
- restores an employee's job after leave;
- sets requirements for notice and certification of the need for leave;
- protects employees who request or take leave;
- and includes certain employer record keeping requirements.
A number of states have also enacted family and medical leave laws,
some of which provide greater amounts of leave and benefits than those
provided by FMLA, and/or provide benefits to employees who are not eligible
for FMLA leave. In those situations where an employee is covered by
both Federal and State FMLA laws, the employee is entitled to the greater
benefit or more generous rights provided under the different parts of
each law. Some employees may also be entitled to protections provided
by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which is administered by
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
An employer is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act if: he
is engaged in commerce or in an industry or activity affecting commerce
and he has employed 50 or more employees for each working day in 20
or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year; or the
business is a public agency; or the business is a private or public
elementary or secondary school. This page reprinted from the Department
of Labor website.