Winston Cooks, LLC

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family & medical leave act

Your Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Rights

When faced with a medical situation, whether your own or someone else's in your family, you should be able to tend to it without having to worry about time away from work negatively impacting your job. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 entitles employees of certain employers to take as much as 12 weeks of unpaid time away from work for specified family and medical reasons.

The FMLA guidelines protect workers, but employers do not always abide by them — sometimes unintentionally. The employment law attorneys at Winston Cooks in Birmingham advocate for employees who have been denied medical leave or whose job status or work responsibilities have been negatively impacted as a result of taking time away for qualifying medical reasons.

Covered Employers

The FMLA applies to employers that meet the following criteria:

• Any employer in the private sector with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer
• Any local, state, or federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs
• Any public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs

Qualified Employees

Employees who are protected by FMLA regulations also must meet certain criteria. An eligible employee must do the following:
• Have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months
• Have at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave
• Have worked at a location in the United States or in any territory of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles

Qualifying Reasons

There are a number of qualifying reasons an employee must meet to receive up to 12 weeks of medical leave from work within a 12-month period. These include the following:
• The birth of a child or placement of a child in the home through adoption or foster care
• To care for a child, spouse or parent who has a serious health condition
• A serious health condition that leaves the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job
• Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter or parent is a military member on covered active duty or called to covered active duty status

Your Protected Rights

Under FMLA stipulations, a covered employee is assured of receiving up to 12 weeks off without penalty in a 12-month period. The time away from work can be taken in consecutive days or weeks, or intermittently in hourly intervals. An employer is not required to pay the employee for the time spent away from work.

An employee who returns from FMLA leave must be allowed to return to the same job that he or she held before taking medical leave or to an equivalent position.

Have Our Experienced Alabama Lawyers Review Your Case

FMLA laws are complex. Employees are often confused about their rights and employers can misunderstand their obligations. If you believe you have been fired, demoted, or denied your rights under the federal FMLA laws, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We will review the facts of your case and recommend the best steps to take.

We often resolve FMLA disputes without the need to litigate. Don't hesitate to protect your rights.