Who is Eligible for Leave Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?


Posted by: Chris

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects the rights of eligible employees to take family and medical leave without losing their jobs or group health insurance. To be eligible for FMLA leave, you must be employed for 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours during that time prior to taking leave.

FMLA applies to employees who need to take family or medical leave for:

  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • To care for an ill spouse, child or parent
  • A serious health condition that affects your ability to do your job
  • Emergency leave due to the death of a close family member
  • A qualifying circumstance tied to a spouse’s, child’s or parent’s active military duty

If you are eligible for FMLA leave, you are entitled to take 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.  You may also be entitled to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a family member injured while on active military duty.

Employee eligibility for FMLA leave

There are three conditions that employees must meet to qualify for FMLA leave:

  1. An employee must have worked for the company for a minimum of 12 months. This 12-month period need not be consecutive months; instead, they can be cumulative unless the employee had a break in service of 7 or more years. 
  2. An employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period of employment prior to taking leave.
  3. An employee must work at a location with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, which must be based on actual driving routes.

Reinstatement rights

Employees are entitled to keep their company health insurance coverage at the same cost they pay while working. While FMLA leave is unpaid, employees may be allowed -- or required -- to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave.

Once FMLA leave expires, an employee is entitled to return to work in the same or equivalent position, although some exceptions apply.

If your employer has violated your right to FMLA leave, contact our experienced attorneys today. We will work tirelessly to hold your employer accountable and protect your rights in the workplace. Please call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today at 918-582-2500, toll-free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.