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*This section is provided as a quick reference tool only.
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Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

It is very important that an employer understand the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA.) An employer who has 50 or more employees is subject to this Act. To be an eligible employee, one must have worked for the employer for at least one year or over 1250 hours. FMLA entitles one up to a total of 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period because of a serious health condition.

An employee may elect, or the employer may require, the employee to substitute accrued paid vacation, personal leave, or sick leave during this period of time. When the employee returns to work, the employer must return the worker to his former position or an equivalent position, with equivalent employee benefits. Usually, when a worker takes FMLA leave, he does not get paid. However, "paid time off" or vacation pay or sick pay may be given if the employee has earned these benefits.

If an injured worker takes the Family Medical Leave and cannot return to work after the twelve weeks expire, generally the employer does not then have an obligation to rehire the worker at a later date. In other words, the employer is not required to hold the job open indefinitely.

There are very strict requirements concerning when the FMLA applies and how it is determined. A thorough understanding of the requirements and specifics of the FMLA is essential. There is a close relationship between the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the workers' compensation system, in returning injured workers to work. The employer must always have a good understanding of how these laws work together and how to meet the legal requirements.

*This section is provided as a reference tool only. Benefit rates as well as State agency contacts, phone numbers and addresses may change periodically and are not guaranteed. Please send notification of any changes to