Taking time off work after the birth or adoption of a child, serious injury, or serious injury to a close family member can be stressful. Whether you will be able to keep your job and health insurance are among many of the questions you may ask yourself at such a time.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) might be your answer. In the short term, the passing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act has added additional rights under FMLA in circumstances related to leave due to issues relating to COVID-19, also known as the “coronavirus.” Those changes are discussed in a previous blog.
However, the remainder of the FMLA remains intact and in effect. Pursuant to the FMLA, an eligible employee of a covered employer may take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified reasons, along with the continuance of group health insurance coverage as if the employee was not on leave.
A “covered” employer under FMLA includes private sector employers who have 50 or more employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or preceding calendar year and governmental or public agencies. However, for the purposes of an employee taking leave for reasons related to COVID-19, the definition is different, as discussed in a previous blog.
As an employee of a covered employer, you must be “eligible” under the FMLA. Generally, to be eligible, you must:
- Be employed by a covered employer;
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last 12 months before you take leave;
- Perform work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 of the location; and
- Have worked for the employer for a minimum of 12 months within the last 7 years. The 12 months of employment does not have to be consecutive.
Again, if you are seeking leave for reasons based on COVID-19, your eligibility may be different pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Reasons for Leave
If you are an eligible employee who is employed by a covered employer, you may be eligible to take up 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the following reasons:
- For the birth of a new born child and bonding with a newborn child;
- For the placement of a child and bonding with the child placed through adoption or foster care;
- To care for an immediate family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent who has suffered a serious health condition. However, you may not take leave to care for a parent in-law;
- For leave if you are unable to work because of a serious health condition; or
- For qualifying reasons relating to your spouse, child, or parent who is on covered active duty or on call to covered active duty status as a member of the U.S. armed forces.
Taking leave from work is a serious matter and procedures need to be followed to properly request and take FMLA leave. If you are a Missouri or Illinois resident and feel that you need to take leave from work and your employer is not going to let you, the guidance and knowledge of an attorney is valuable. Call us, Ross & Voytas, LLC, at 314-394-0605 or learn more at www.rossvoytas.com.
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