In the early 1990's, congress recognized that an increasing number of children were being raised in situations where both parents worked outside the home. For many, the idea of starting a family, or expanding the family, was complicated by the fact that both parents worked. In other homes, families struggled because a family member with a serious medical condition such as diabetes or asthma would often lose time from work because of illness. Congress responded to these common situations with a piece of legislation known as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)(Rigler). On August 5, 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act became effective for most of the employers and employees covered by the act. The FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons, including serious health conditions that prevent the employee from working (Compliance Guide 3). Guidelines
Family Medical Leave Act has guidelines that must be followed in order to benefit from this Act. According to the Compliance Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act an eligible employee shall be entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: §Birth of a son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for such son or daughter §The placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care §In order to care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition; §A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee. The time does not have to be taken all at once, but you are limited to 12 weeks in any 12-month period. If you are eligible for health insurance through your benefits will continue during the time off, just as if you were still working. When you return to work, your employer must place you into the same position or to another position with the same pay, status, and benefits. If you lose your health insurance because you can't pay the premiums during your time off, you are entitled to get your insurance back when you return to work. Your employer can allow you to exhaust your sick leave and vacation time against the 12-week limit for family and medical leave, if the reason you exhausted your sick leave or vacation time is one that would qualify you for family or medical leave. The employer must tell you that your leave will be counted against your 12 weeks of family and medical leave within two business days of your request. Even if you would rather take unpaid leave, your employer can make you take your accrued paid leave in conjunction with your family or medical leave. Paid leave would then count against the 12-week limit on family and medical leave time. The employer's leave policies must at least give you the benefits guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act. In some cases, an employer's policy may give you better benefits or may make leave time available even if you do not qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Also, even if you do not qualify for leave under the law or your employer's policies, your employer may still be willing to work with you to accommodate your needs. You are eligible for family or medical leave if you meet all of the following conditions: §Have worked for your employer for at least one year;
§During the last year, you have worked 1,250 hours for that employer (a little under 32 weeks of 40-hours/week work); §The employer has at least 50 workers at the location where you work or within 75 miles of where you work The FMLA policy is general and many terms have to be defined so that there is no misinterpretation of what is meant. "A serious health condition is an illness, injury,...