As an employer, you must comply with the FMLA if you have 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar work weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
The FMLA grants an eligible employee up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for:
Employers must choose from four methods to measure the 12-month period:
Leave to care for a healthy child after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care must be taken within 12 months of the child’s birth or placement. Even though employers must allow intermittent or reduced leave schedules if there is a medical need for such schedules, or based on the qualifying exigency, employers have the option of whether or not to allow intermittent or reduced leave schedules for leaves to bond with a child due to birth or placement for adoption or foster care.
In addition to the above "regular" FMLA entitlement, an eligible employee may take up to 26 weeks of unpaid military caregiver leave during a single 12-month period to care for a spouse, child, parent or next of kin who is a covered servicemember. A covered servicemember is a member or veteran of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness. If the military member is a veteran, they must have been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable any time during the five-year period prior to the first date of FMLA leave taken by the eligible employee
The single 12-month period is measured forward from the first day of leave to care for the servicemember on a per-member, per-injury basis. During this single 12-month period, eligible employees may take only a combined maximum of 26 weeks of leave under both their regular FMLA entitlement and their military caregiver leave entitlement.
Spouses who are both FMLA-eligible and employed by the same covered employer may be limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave if the leave is taken:
Each spouse is entitled to a full 12 weeks of leave; however, he or she must take only a combined limit of 12 weeks for any of the reasons listed above if the employer has chosen to enforce this provision through their policies. For example, if each spouse took six weeks of leave to care for a healthy newborn child, each could take an additional six weeks of leave due to his or her own serious health condition.
Spouses may also be limited to a combined 26-week leave total during the single 12-month period if leave is taken to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.
Even if you don’t currently have FMLA-eligible employees, as an FMLA-covered employer you must prominently post a notice explaining the FMLA provisions, including how to file complaints. If your workforce includes a significant number of non-English speakers, the notice must also be given in the language they speak. Go to http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm for the workplace poster.
If you have any FMLA-eligible employees and have any written guidance to employees concerning leave rights (such as in an employee handbook), you’re also required to include information concerning FMLA entitlements and employee obligations. If you do not provide written guidance to employees concerning leave rights, you must provide this written guidance when an employee provides notice of the need for leave. You can meet this requirement by giving employees the FMLA Fact Sheet available through your local Wage and Hour Division office of the Department of Labor or online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm.
Full employer notice requirements are outlined in the FMLA Regulations (CFR Sec. 825.300). For copies of optional forms you may use to respond to an employee’s request for leave visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm.
In response to an employee’s notice of the need for
leave, you must also provide a written response to the employee within five business days of the employee’s notice. The written response must detail the employee’s eligibility or ineligibility for leave under the FMLA, specific expectations and obligations of the employee, and explain any consequences of failing to meet the obligations, including but not limited to:
The FMLA requires you to grant leave if your FMLA-eligible employee (or his or her covered family member) has a serious health condition certified by a health care provider.
Under the FMLA, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that meets the FMLA criteria of one of the following categories:
The specific criteria necessary to meet each of these categories are outlined in the FMLA Regulations (29 CFR 825.115).
Here's a list of some of the conditions that can qualify an employee for leave provided the specific criteria of one of the above serious health condition categories are met:
However, since the same illness can have different effects on different people and will not always meet the criteria of an FMLA "serious" health condition, you will need to evaluate the medical certification of the condition for each patient on a case-by-case basis.
Generally, unless complications arise, illnesses like cold, flu, routine dental problems and headaches other than migraines do not usually meet the definition and criteria of an FMLA serious health condition.
An employee’s 12-week FMLA entitlement includes qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent is on covered active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty.
Under the terms of the statute, qualifying exigency leave is available to a family member of a military member in the regular or reserve components of the Armed Forces during deployment to a foreign country. All qualifying exigencies must be necessitated by the covered active duty or call to covered active duty status of the covered military member.
Even if you don’t have eligible employees, as an FMLA-covered employer you must still document your FMLA compliance. No specific forms are required, but your records must comply with section 11(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means that you should keep your records for three years, being sure to include:
According to the law, your company can't: