The Family and Medical Leave Act

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The Family Medical Leave Act Protects Employees in Florida from Interference and Retaliation with Your Right to Take Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) protects your right to take family or medical leave without fear or reprisal. This means things such as losing your job, health insurance benefits, or suffering some other form of retaliation.

The FMLA guarantees that an employee, male or female, who has been working at least a year with a company that has 50 or more employees the right to job-protected, 12-week, unpaid leave to recover from a serious medical condition,to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or to care for a seriously ill child, parent or spouse.

Furthermore, the FMLA guarantees that when you return to work you’ll will be given the same job you left or another job equivalent in pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions. During the leave, your employer is required to maintain your health insurance benefits just as if it would have had you not taken federally-protected leave.

The purpose of the FMLA is to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.

Enhanced Service Member Protection

In January 2009, the FMLA was updated to include new military family leave entitlements. These changes included allowing eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a service member with a serious illness or injury incurred in the line of duty. Also, the changes allow family members of covered military members to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to manage their affairs while the member is on active duty.

What is the FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is a set of federal rules that limit an employer’s actions when an employee gives birth to a child or must care for a sick or injured family member. It provides unpaid time off while protecting the employee’s position at work, as well as allowing employees to stay on their group healthcare plan, and more. If your employer has fired you, demoted you, decrease your pay, or taken any other negative action because of time you took off that was protected under the FMLA, you need to contact a lawyer at once to discuss your legal options.

FMLA Protections for Employees in Florida

Under the FMLA, employees can take unpaid leave from work in the following circumstances when their employer has 50 or more employees:

  • Birth of the employee’s child;
  • Adoption of child;
  • Employee who suffers from a serious health condition that renders them unable to perform the normal functions of their job;
  • Pregnancy complications;
  • To provide care for a spouse, child, or parent during a serious health condition;
  • A qualifying exigency due to the employee’s relation to a service member on covered active duty; and
  • To provide care for a covered servicemember if the employee is a son, daughter, spouse, parent, or next of kin.

Your employer cannot retaliate in any way when you return from your leave of absence.  If they do, they can be held accountable by an employment attorney for the damages that they have caused.

How Long Can I Take a Leave of Absence?

The length of unpaid time that an employee can take away from work and not risk losing his or her job or existing group health care coverage depends on the reason the employee had to take the leave of absence. When taking care of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, you have 26 workweeks within a 12-month period. For all other conditions and circumstances, you have 12 work weeks.

Contact a Family Medical Leave Act Employment Attorney for Help

Employment lawyer Patrick K. Elliott assist employees who have been retaliated against by their employer when they were protected under the clauses of the Family Medical Leave Act. Retaliation includes firing, demotion, wage decrease, forced use of paid or unpaid time off, moving to another department, harassment, discrimination, and more. Do not hesitate to call today to setup a free initial consultation with a Florida employment law attorney.