The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 permits eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, continuing the same group health insurance coverage. The purpose of the FMLA is to permit parents to care for their newborn, adopted, or foster care child or care for an ailing relative. Unfortunately, it only requires unpaid leave, making it out of reach for many workers. However, a full understanding of the FMLA is essential so that if a new child is coming or a medical crisis unfolds, you know what you can do to protect your job while fulfilling your family commitments.

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What is the Family Medical Leave Act?

FMLA provides unpaid leave under these specific circumstances:

  • Birth and care of an employee’s newborn child
  • Placement of a foster child or adopted child in the employee’s home
  • Care for an immediate family member—spouse, child, or parent—with a severe illness
  • Medical leave is used by an employee when the employee is unable to work

In Idaho, not all companies are mandated to provide unpaid medical leave. Only companies with at least 50 employees during at least 20 weeks of the current or prior year are covered by the FMLA mandate. In addition, the employee applying for unpaid medical leave must live within 75 miles of a company location with 50 workers.

Besides the FMLA, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (NDAA) requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks for particular difficulties arising out of military service of a family member and 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees who need to care for a seriously wounded military family.

What is Military Caregiver Leave?

The 2008 NDAA allows an employee who is a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, to take up to 26 workweeks of military caregiver leave to care for that current service member who is undergoing medical treatment, recovery, or therapy, even if in outpatient status for a severe injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty, or for a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by service, or for a condition that manifested itself before or after the veteran left active duty.

When Can You Claim Unpaid Leave?

Eligible employees must have worked at the company for at least one year and worked at least 1250 hours in that past year before applying for leave under either the FMLA or NDAA. Both the employee and the employer must be eligible under both these statutes.

Employees can continue their health insurance while on leave, at the same cost as when they were still working. Employees can use accrued paid leave during FMLA to subsidize their income.

When the FMLA or NDAA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position with certain exceptions.

What Should I Do If I Am Denied a Legitimate Claim?

The procedures for submitting a request for FMLA and NDAA unpaid leaves are fairly straight-forward. Your employer should know all about these procedures and help you complete the necessary paperwork. So ordinarily, you do not need a FMLA lawyer to assist you.

However, in the event that your employer refuses to consider your FMLA application or denies your request, you should immediately contact a skilled and experienced Idaho Family Medical Leave Act Lawyer to secure your rights under this statute.

Family Medical Leave Act FAQs

What kinds of employers are covered by the FMLA mandate?

The FMLA applies to public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools). Whether your private employer is covered depends on its size. Within the private sector, employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year – including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

Can both parents take leave for the birth of a newborn, adoption, or foster care placement?

Both parents have the same right to take FMLA leave to bond with a newborn child. A pregnant mother can also take FMLA leave for prenatal care, incapacity related to pregnancy, and for her own serious health condition following the birth of a child. Her partner can also use FMLA leave to care for the ailing spouse who is incapacitated due to pregnancy or child birth.

Can I take leave periodically or does it all have to be taken at once?

When it is medically necessary, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently – taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason – or on a reduced leave schedule – reducing the employee’s usual weekly or daily work schedule. When leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make a reasonable effort to schedule treatment to minimize disruption at the workplace.

Leave to care for or bond with a newborn child or for a newly placed adopted or foster child may only be taken intermittently with the employer’s approval and must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement.

Contact an Idaho Family Medical Leave Act Lawyer

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is an African-American and Veteran-owned law firm providing quality and efficient legal counsel to businesses, organizations, employers/ employees, as well as individual multi-cultural clients located throughout Idaho.

Idaho Employment Law Solutions is skilled in handling charges of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, national origin and pregnancy submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Idaho Human Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Idaho Employment Law Solutions has extensive experience in handling complaints by employees about discrimination or harassment before those complaints become official charges of discrimination. Idaho Employment Law Solutions is experienced in guiding its business clients through sexual harassment investigations and provides advice on a case-by-case basis about the most effective way for the employer and employee to address claims of discrimination.

Contact Idaho Employment Law Solutions by phone at (208) 672-6112 to make an appointment. Legal advice will not be provided over the telephone. There will be a $75 charge for initial consultations.

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