The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows employees to take a leave of absence — without losing their job — because of their own or an immediate family member’s medical condition or other family responsibility such as the birth of a baby or an adoption.
FMLA was designed to protect employees from losing their jobs, seniority, or benefits if they need to take leave for certain covered situations such as:
- Inability to work because of a serious health condition
- Caring for an immediate family member (parent, child or spouse) with a serious health condition
- The birth of and care of the employee’s new baby
- The adoption or foster placement of a baby or child or foster care for placement
Requirements & Eligibility
To be required to provide FMLA leave, a private-sector employer must employ at least 50 workers within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite All public sector (government) employees are entitled to FMLA regardless of size. To be eligible for Family and Medical Leave, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period prior to the request for leave. Both full-time and part-time employees are covered under FMLA as long as they have worked the minimum amount of hours.
FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 work-weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period. If you qualify and have unused FMLA leave time, your employer cannot deny you FMLA leave.
Protection Not Pay
FMLA does not provide for paid leave, though employees may be paid during FMLA leave if they have accrued vacation or sick days. FMLA does protect employees from losing their jobs because of a medical condition or family responsibility, but does not provide for pay during the leave period. Employees who take qualified FMLA leave are entitled to return to the same or equivalent position and benefits as they held before the leave. However, the law does provide how and when leave should be requested.
As you can imagine, employers are not thrilled with the prospect of employees being able to leave their jobs for extended periods of time without the employer being able to replace them. As a result, FMLA leave is not usually offered or encouraged and may be discouraged, and sometimes those who utilize their FMLA may be discriminated against. It is not uncommon for employers to violate employees’ FMLA rights. The FMLA declares it unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise, any right provided under the FMLA. The FMLA also prohibits “any employer to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice” made unlawful by the FMLA employee rights.
The Compensation You Deserve
If you feel your employee rights to family or medical leave have been violated, you should consult an experienced employee rights lawyer. After reviewing your case, you may decide to retain The Pearce Law Firm to recover lost pay, benefits, health insurance, interest, and/or the cost of providing care to your seriously ill family member. In addition, if it is found you are entitled to these kinds of economic damages, your employer may be penalized for additional damages equal to twice the amount of your economic damages and payment of your employee rights attorney’s fees.
An experienced and aggressive employees discrimination rights attorney will also seek to have your job reinstated as well as any promotions you may have been entitled to. They will also seek attorney’s fees, witness fees and court costs on your behalf.
Experience & Expertise
If your FMLA employee rights have been violated by your employer in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Edith Pearce can help. An expert in employment issues and FMLA matters, Ms. Pearce takes an aggressive approach to workplace rights violations of any kind, and will work diligently on your behalf to right the wrongs you have suffered and obtain full and fair compensation for you. Edith Pearce has been considered the best of the best in employment law.
In 2005, Edith Pearce was named a “Super Lawyer,” designating her as one of the top 5% of Pennsylvania lawyers. In fact, in the practice area of employment litigation, only 41 lawyers received this honor, and only 12 of the 41 were women, including Edith Pearce. She has received the highest rating, “AV,” from Martindale-Hubbell. Up-to-the-minute knowledge of the rapidly changing interpretations of employment law is absolutely critical to your case, as is a swift investigation, early trial posturing and vigorous pursuit.
Edith Pearce is a highly sought after employee rights lawyer who has appeared on various television programs including It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle for her legal opinion on current employment law issues of the day including a Michigan company firing workers who smoked outside the workplace.
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50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite
In order to be covered by the FMLA, the employer must employ at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. You may still qualify for FMLA even if the place where you work only has a few employees. As long as the employer has other offices/worksites within 75 miles of where you work, those employees are counted. For example, if you work in Philadelphia at an office or worksite where only 10 other employees work, but the company also has an office or worksite in Cherry Hill, New Jersey which employees over 40 employees, you are covered. You need an experienced employee rights lawyer like Edith Pearce to determine if your FMLA rights have been violated and if you qualify.
How and when to request FMLA leave
If you qualify for FMLA leave, you should provide your employer notice that you are requesting FMLA leave. Under the law, an employee must provide their employer with notice that he or she needs FMLA leave. If the leave is foreseeable, the employee should provide at least 30 days notice. However, if 30 days notice is not practicable, notice must be given “as soon as practicable.”
“As soon as practicable” is defined as “both possible and practical, taking into account all of the facts and circumstances in the individual case,” but usually within 1 – 2 business days of when the need for leave becomes known.
The law provides that an employee shall provide at least verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware that the employee needs FMLA-qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration to the leave. Although the law may not require it, you should document your request for FMLA leave by putting it in writing or by e-mail and saving a copy.
If your FMLA employee rights have been violated by your employer in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, call us today for a FREE EMPLOYEE RIGHTS CONSULTATION with an FMLA attorney.