Some issues concerning the rights of male and female workers to request or take a leave of absence for child-rearing and other specified reasons have been addressed by Congress through the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. Employers with more than 50 employees must provide eligible employees, male and female, with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12 month period to provide infant care (or leave for childbirth or adoption), or to provide care for a child, spouse, or parent suffering from “a serious health condition.” It also requires employers to provide unpaid leave to an employee when it is prompted by that employee’s own illness or injury, or for military leave. Employers have options related to how it is to compute non-FMLA leave and FMLA leave. This may include paid leave or unpaid leave. Additionally, employees may be able to elect, or employers may require, that paid leave be used before using unpaid FMLA leave, depending on the employer’s policies.
The FMLA requires the employee to notify the employer of the reasons and necessity for FMLA leave. If the employer is on notice that an FMLA leave might be appropriate, but the information the employer has received from the employee is insufficient for the employer to determine whether the employee qualifies for an FMLA leave, then the employer has the right to make further inquiries. To substantiate the reasons for the requested FMLA leave, the employer can require the employee to provide medical certification from his or her doctor.
There are many issues which both employers and employees should be made aware of in ascertaining whether FMLA leave may be appropriate. A business can suffer when it is unprepared for the issues that may arise when an employee takes a medically-related leave. Likewise, it is important that employees learn and understand their rights and obligations as it relates to the FMLA. Attorneys at the Gilbert Law Group have been providing informed counsel, educating our clients of their rights, and fighting to protect their interests since the FMLA was enacted in 1993.
CONTACT Gilbert Law Group today: 631.630.0100.