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What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

As a Colorado employer, having a working understanding of employment law is highly recommended. This is especially true when it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which involves workers taking leave for health issues affecting them or family members. Knowing how this act works and how it is applied to employees is crucial to ensuring you remain compliant.

As stated by the United States Department of Labor, workers who are deemed eligible must be afforded up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave on an annual basis. When workers take leave, their health benefits must remain in effect, and they must have the option of returning to work to hold the same position as when they left. If a family member is part of the military and has suffered a significant illness or injury, workers should be privy to 26 months of unpaid leave during the course of the year.

In terms of worker eligibility, an employee must have put in 1,250 hours during the year preceding the leave. Workers must also have worked for their employer for at least 12 non-consecutive months and the employer must have at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of the business. Additionally, the employer must also be considered eligible for a worker to qualify for FMLA. In general, most workplaces are considered eligible for FMLA, including both in public and private sectors.

Employees can take FMLA for a number of reasons. These include to provide care to an ailing relative, after an adoption has taken place (to facilitate bonding between parent and child) and after the birth of a biological child. Employees suffering from a serious health condition themselves are also allowed to make use of FMLA. Leave can be taken intermittently or all at once, depending on the circumstances.

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