Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
What does FMLA stand for in healthcare compliance?
FMLA is an acronym that stands for Family Medical Leave Act.
What is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The Family Medical Leave Act, signed in January of 1993 by President Clinton, was drafted by Congress with the intention of ensuring security and stability for workers and their families. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Family Medical Leave Act is a law that allows employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons. There are six titles within the Family Medical Leave Act. They are as follows:
- Title I: General Requirements for Leave
- Title II: Leave for Civil Service Employees
- Title III: Commission on Leave
- Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions
- Title V: Coverage of Congressional Employees
- Title VI: Sense of Congress
For an employee who works under a covered employer to qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act leave, the employee must have worked at a location with a minimum of fifty employees within a seventy-five-mile radius of the worksite, must have worked for the employer for a minimum of twelve months, and must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours the twelve months before taking leave.
If the employee met those requirements, they can qualify for either a twelve-week leave within a twelve-month period or a twenty-six-week period of leave within a twelve-month period. It is important to know that it is not required that an employee take all of their leave at once. The twelve-week leave within a twelve-month period is valid for:
- The birth of a child
- The arrangement for a child by adoption or foster care
- Needs regarding foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, daughter, son, mother, or father
- The employee’s own health condition that makes it difficult to perform their job
- The employee caring for their spouse, daughter, son, mother, or father with severe medical conditions
The twenty-six week leave within a twelve-month period is valid for:
- The employee caring for their wife, husband, daughter, son, mother, father, or next of kin who is a covered servicemember who suffered a serious illness or injury
Luckily for the employees, there are a series of benefits and protections under the Family Medical Leave Act. While on leave, the employee continues to have the same health insurance coverage as if they had not taken leave. When the employee returns from their leave, the employer is required to return the employee to the same position (or something very close) with the same wage, benefits, and any other terms or conditions in place before the leave. If the employer were to try to retaliate against the worker for taking leave for reasons protected under the Family Medical Leave Act, they would be punished.
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