Leave of Absence (FMLA): What you need to know

The FMLA (29 USC 2601) requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave to eligible employees. The FMLA also allows for up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a single 12-month period for qualified employees caring for a military servicemember or veteran. The FMLA does not supersede state laws if those laws provide greater leave rights to employees. This means that employers covered by the FMLA and a state law must take steps to ensure that employees receive the full benefit of both. Information on state law requirements is also available.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcing the FMLA. Employers that violate the law are liable for damages for wages, salaries, employment benefits, or other compensation denied or lost to employees because of violations, including interest on the monies. Reinstatement, promotion, or other appropriate remedies may also be ordered.
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The FMLA affects private employers with 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more weeks in the current or preceding year. All public employers are covered, regardless of size. There are also special provisions for teachers and other instructional employees of public and private elementary and secondary schools.
For more information on employer coverage, refer to Guidance: FMLA Employer Coverage and Employee Eligibility.
Employees eligible for leave are those who have worked for at least 12 months for the employer from whom leave is requested and for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the start of the leave.
12 months’ ...

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