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What are the benefits of FMLA leave?

Having a job means typically showing up during the weekdays and putting in 40 hours a week. This is typical for most employees in Illinois and elsewhere; however, there are some reasons to need time off from work. Whether it is planned or unexpected, an employee may request time off for a family or medical reason without their job being at risk because they took this time off.

What are the benefits of FMLA leave? FMLA, which refers to Family and Medical Leave Act, is a federal law that guarantees employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year without threat of losing his or her job. Additionally, FMLA requires that the employers maintain the health benefits for those workers eligible, as if they were still working.

FMLA does not apply to all employers, but rather those that reach the minimum requirements. This includes all public agencies, which includes state, federal and local employers, as well as schools. And for private employers, FMLA applies to those that maintain 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks during the year.

Certain employees are eligible for FMLA and this can only occur in certain situations. If an employee is working for an employer that is covered by FMLA, the employee has worked at least 12 months and the job is at a location with at least 50 employees, he or she is eligible to apply for FMLA.

This type of leave is available for those that cannot work because of a serious medical condition, because the employee must care for an immediate family member that has a serious medical condition, for the birth and subsequent care of the employee's child, the placement and subsequent care of an adopted or fostered child or a qualifying exigency that arises because the employee's spouse, child or parent is on active duty or has been called to active duty.

If an employer does not approve FMLA leave or an employee loses their job upon returning from a FMLA leave, this could give rise to an employment litigation situation. In these matters, it is important to understand your rights and how best to resolve these maters.

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