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Family Medical Leave Act and an Employer's Rights – Knowing the Facts

Being an employer is difficult.  You've got to worry about your company's future including profits and your employees.  And you need to abide by many different laws, including the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.  This law was put in place to protect the rights of workers who need to provide medical care to their families, and qualifying employers must abide by the rules of the Family Medical Leave Act.  But often employees and employers alike don't completely understand the specifics of the Family Medical Leave Act.  As such, a brief refresher on just what an employer's rights are under the Family Medical Leave Act can help you know just what you can and cannot do.

First of all it's important to look at the basics of the Family Medical Leave Act.  Put simply, the Family Medical Leave Act states that any employee who qualifies is allowed to take twelve weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or to care for themselves, a spouse, a child, or a biological parent.  Most companies will have no problem allowing their employees to help their families through difficult times or to deliver a child, but the Family Medical Leave Act ensures that no termination, demotion, or other repercussions occur as a result.  Failure to abide by the Family Medical Leave Act can leave you open to lawsuits and serious fines.

But while an employer is bound by the laws of the Family Medical Leave Act, there are also various rules that an employee must abide by under the Family Medical Leave Act.  First, they must qualify for protection under the Family Medical Leave Act.  In order to so the employer in question must have fifty employees on their payroll who worked at least twenty full work weeks during the prior year.  And the employee themselves must have been employed by the company full time for at least twelve months.  If these conditions aren't met, the Family Medical Leave Act doesn't apply.

There are other steps and considerations associated with the Family Medical Leave Act as well.  First, if the reason for the leave is foreseeable then the employee must provide written notice of the leave thirty days prior to its start.  An employer has the right to inform the employee that they don't qualify for Family Medical Leave Act laws if this is the case, but must do so within two days.  During the leave of absence the employer is within their rights to inquire as to the condition and situation of the employee under the rules of the Family Medical Leave Act, and prior to the leave can also request medical documentation proving that the leave is justified under the Family Medical Leave Act.

While the Family Medical Leave Act protects new parent, a husband and wife employed by the same company are only allowed twelve weeks of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act between them.  It can be divided how they choose.  Regular illness isn't covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, such as colds, ear aches, headaches, and routine dental work.  And substance abuse is only covered by the Family Medical Leave Act if the employee is actively receiving treatment.  These are your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, and well worth knowing.


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