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What is FMLA?

injured man in wheelchair  silhouetteDo you have a serious medical condition? Are you about to give birth to your child? Then you may want to know a bit about FMLA and whom it covers. FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is a federal law that guarantees certain employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave each year without having to worry about losing their job. It also makes a requirement that employers covered by the law maintain health benefits for eligible workers that acts in place of the job.

Am I Eligible?
Public agencies on State, Federal, and Local levels must follow FMLA rules, as well as all schools. FMLA also applied to employers who have employed 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks during this year or the previous year as far as private employers are concerned. However, there are some things to keep in mind. First of all, the employee must have worked for a covered employer and for a period of 12 months (at least 1,250 hours). Also, the employee’s job must take place at a location where at least 50 employees are working.

The FMLA requires you to have a serious health condition before you consider your leave. This is divided into six categories. The categories include inpatient care, incapacity for more than three days with continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, incapacity relating to pregnancy or prenatal care, chronic serious health conditions, permanent incapacity, and certain conditions requiring multiple treatments. Here are these conditions explained further:

  • Inpatient Care: These are conditions that require a stay at a hospital or other healthcare residencies.
  • Incapacity For More Than Three Days Plus Continuing Treatment: A person incapacitated for more than three days (consecutive) may apply.
  • Pregnancy or Prenatal Care: If a pregnant woman is unable to work or perform daily activities due to pregnancy, this counts as a health condition. This leave can also be used for routine check-ups like a visit to the doctor for standard prenatal care.
  • Chronic Serious Health Conditions: This would apply to an ongoing impairment. The condition counts if the employee requires periodic treatment visits, the condition continues over an extended period of time, and the condition may cause episodic incapacity.
  • Permanent or Long-Term Incapacity: An employee that is incapacitated permanently is covered as long as they are under the supervision of a health care provider.
  • Multiple Treatments: If an employee misses work for multiple treatments, they are covered if treatments are for restorative surgery after an accident or injury, or a condition that would require an absence of more than three days if not treated.

Limitations on FMLA Leave

An employer cannot restrict your actions during your FMLA leave. However, if the original reason for needing leave no longer exists, or if your lied about the reasons for your leave, this will no longer apply. To go along with that, your leave may be cut short if you fail to provide medical certification of your serious condition.

There are also conditions not covered by FMLA. Every patient is different, of course – somebody may suffer more from pneumonia or bronchitis than another patient would. Somebody with a bad cough for a couple of days may not warrant an excuse, but somebody who spends a few days in the hospital certainly would. Colds and flus, earaches, upset stomachs, headaches, and routine dental issues are not covered. An employer will need to know the reasons behind a particular health condition to make an assessment.

If you believe you have a case due to the fact that you were denied off of leave from work, you may want to speak to an experienced attorney. If you had a very serious health condition that absolutely required time off, then it is only fair that you be able to take time recovering. Call RAWA today to schedule a consultation and speak to an attorney that you can trust.

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