Working and earning to support your family is essential, and when you experience an injury or serious health condition that impacts your ability to work, your present and future can seem precarious. The same can be true if a family member is ill or otherwise needs your care. To protect your ability to care for yourself and your family in times of need without having to worry about losing your job, Congress passed the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Under the FMLA, many employers are required to provide their workers with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave for certain, qualifying reasons. This leave is protected, meaning it is available to eligible workers without the risk of them losing their jobs during the time they are gone. Unfortunately, many employers do not understand their obligations under the FMLA —or they simply break the law. If you have any concerns about your rights under the FMLA, reach out to Haeggquist & Eck now at (619) 342-8000 for your free consultation to discuss your FMLA issue today.
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for three main reasons:
A serious health condition entitling an employee to FMLA leave means an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either: (1) inpatient care, or (2) continuing treatment by a health care provider. The inpatient care requirement is straightforward and means an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility and any subsequent treatment in connection with that inpatient care. The continuing treatment requirement, on the other hand, is much more complex.
Employees with family members in the Armed Forces are also entitled to FMLA leave for qualifying exigencies that arise while that family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty. Qualifying exigencies include making alternative child care arrangements for a child of the deployed servicemember, attending certain military ceremonies and briefings, or making financial or legal arrangements to address the servicemember’s absence.
Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave during any 12-month period to care for their own or their family member’s serious health condition, to take time to bond with a new family member, or to handle qualifying exigencies arising from the deployment of a family member.
This leave entitlement is increased to 26 workweeks within any 12-month period to care for a covered service member (spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin) with a serious injury or illness. A covered service member includes a current member of the Armed Forces (including in the National Guard or Reserves) and a veteran of the Armed Forces discharged within the last five years.
During FMLA leave, you can continue your group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as though you were not on leave. This provides you the ability to continue supporting your family by covering their healthcare needs while you are taking unpaid time off.
When you return from FMLA leave, you must be restored to the same job or to an equivalent job, meaning a job that is virtually identical to your original job in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions (including shift and location).
If your employer denied your request for FMLA leave, terminated or laid you off while you were on leave, or refused to give you back your job or an equivalent job after your leave ended, your FMLA rights may have been violated. The best way to find out for sure is to consult with an attorney who knows the law and has experience handling FMLA cases.
With decades of combined legal experience, the legal team of Haeggquist & Eck provides you the benefit of focusing on yourself and your family while we handle the process of recovering your rightful relief for FMLA violations. If you believe your rights have been violated, contact Haeggquist & Eck now at (619) 342-8000 for your free consultation to discuss your FMLA issue today.
The purpose of the Family Medical Leave Act is to protect employees’ jobs when they take leave. You
may be shocked to find the old position you occupied was filled during your absence, but your
employer is legally obligated to provide a similar or equivalent position with equal pay and benefits as
you had before you went on leave.
Call Haeggquist & Eck, LLP today at (619) 342-8000 for more
information and discover how we can help.