The Family Medical Leave Act: Know Your Rights

The Family Medical Leave Act became law in 1993 and offers employees job-protected time off for certain qualifying medical reasons. The law provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12 month window. The 12 weeks allowed by the FMLA do not necessarily have to be taken consecutively, although that is permitted. An employee is also free to take medical leave intermittently or by reducing the number of hours worked per week.

To Be Eligible for FMLA in Michigan, an Employee Must:

  • Work at a company that employs at least 50 people
  • Worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months leading up to the leave
  • The 1,250 hours cannot include holidays, vacation or sick time

Furthermore, the employer is required to continue paying its share of medical insurance costs. The employee is required to continue paying what is normally deducted from his or her paycheck.

Conditions That Qualify for FMLA Include:

  • The birth of child or care of a newborn within one year of birth
  • The placement of an adoptive or foster child within the employee's care
  • Experiencing a health problem that prevents the employee from performing on the job
  • Assisting a child, spouse or parent with a health problem

Other conditions that qualify involve inpatient care, such as at a hospital or post-surgery examination, three days or more of incapacity, or chronic or permanent conditions, such as time off to treat asthma or diabetes.

Other Specifics:

  • The reduction in working hours may be used for doctor's appointments, physical therapy or medical treatments for employees or their family
  • The 12 month window begins with the first day of non-attendance by the employee
  • In 2009, FMLA was updated to include 26 weeks of leave within a 12 month window to assist a service member who is injured or sick. The service member must be an immediate family member

Despite legal protection, some employees taking medical leave under FMLA are still let go while they are taking care of themselves or family members. Contact an experienced Michigan attorney if you have questions regarding the Family Medical Leave Act. It is important to know your rights as an employee.