Employment Law

Family Medical Leave Act – What You Should Know

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law administered by the Federal Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.  The act provides that qualifying employees have the right to take a leave from work for themselves or a family member for up to 12 weeks in a 12 month period without fear of losing employment due to the fact that they are going out on the leave.

Who is covered?

Only employers who have at least 50 employees working within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite are obligated to provide FMLA leave.  Only employees who have worked at least 12 months for the employer and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the date of the FMLA leave begins are eligible to take the leave.

Sign Up for E-News

What kind of leave qualifies for FMLA leave?

The following types of situations may qualify for FMLA leave: (1) parental leave after the birth of a child; (2) pregnancy leave (where doctor requires bed rest or there is a pregnancy-related complication); (3) adoption or foster care; (4) medical leave to care for family member with a serious health condition; and (5) medical leave for your own serious health condition. 

What is a “serious health condition”?

A serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that either involves (1) inpatient care (i.e. overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility) or (2) continuing care by a health care provider. 

An overnight stay at a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility is an automatic trigger for FMLA eligibility. In a continuing care situation, treatment that results in an incapacity (inability to work, go to school or participate in other daily activities) of more three consecutive calendar days and two or more in-person visits to the health care provider within 30 days of the date of the incapacity will qualify the trigger for FMLA eligibility.  Examples that may qualify as chronic and/or continuing medical conditions include, but are not limited to the following: pneumonia, surgery, broken/fractured bones, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, severe morning sickness during pregnancy, Alzheimer’s, severe stroke, terminal disease, cancer, severe arthritis, kidney disease and treatment for substance abuse by a health care provider

What kind of notice does your employer have to give you regarding the FMLA?

  1. Once you notify your employer of an FMLA qualifying medical leave, your employer must notify you that you are eligible to take an FMLA leave within five business days.
  2. Whenever you are told that you are eligible to take an FMLA leave, your employer also has to provide you with a written notice of your rights and responsibilities under the FMLA leave.  This written notice must also explain any consequences of your failure to meet these obligations under the law.
  3. Within five days of when your employer has enough information to determine whether your leave is FMLA qualifying, your employer must notify you, in writing, as to whether the leave will be designated and counted as FMLA leave. 

In other words, even if you don’t specifically tell your employer that you want to go on FMLA leave, if your employer has enough information to determine that your illness or chronic condition triggers FMLA eligibility, then your employer is required to tell you of your option to take FMLA leave.  This allows employees to have an informed choice regarding use of FMLA leave time or being charged sick days.  Unlike sick days, days out on FMLA leave cannot be used to discipline an employee in an allegation of excessive or chronic absenteeism.

What are the different kinds of FMLA leave available?

There are three different types of FMLA leave available: (1) continuous FMLA leave, (2) intermittent FMLA leave and (3) reduced schedule FMLA leave.  Continuous leave is used for situations where the employee is out for more than three consecutive business days and has been treated by a doctor. Intermittent leave is used where the employee is taking time off in separate blocks of time (i.e., hourly, daily, or weekly increments) due to a serious health condition that qualifies for FMLA. Intermittent leave is particularly useful when an employee needs ongoing treatment for their condition. Reduced schedule leave is often used where the employee needs an accommodation to reduce the amount of hours they work per day or per week, perhaps to care for a family member or to reduce stress.

Why is FMLA leave so valuable to employee?

FMLA guarantees that employees will be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position with the same pay and benefits upon their return from leave.  Employers cannot take disciplinary action against an employee for using FMLA or use FMLA leave as a negative factor in discipline decisions. Additionally, an employer cannot count FMLA leave against the company’s absentee policy for disciplinary purposes.  However, the employer may discipline an employee for legitimate reasons which are independent of taking or requesting FMLA leave.

What Remedies Are Available To Employees Wrongfully Denied FMLA Leave?

An employee may file a complaint with the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division or file an action in state or federal court. The law provides in an appropriate case for economic damages, including lost wages, benefits and in many cases liquidated (double the wage loss) damages as well as reasonable attorney fees.

Knowing Your Rights and Responsibilities

If you have a question about your rights or responsibilities under the FMLA, please feel free to contact Fred Shahrooz-Scampato. Mr. Shahrooz-Scampato can provide you with the benefit of his twenty years of experience in employment law. He can be reached at Scampato@njlaborlaw.com or (908) 301-9095 or by visiting www.njlaborlaw.com.

 

Whether you are an employer looking for assistance with employment law issues, or an employee who feels unfairly treated, Fred Shahrooz Scampato can provide you with the benefit of his over twenty years experience in employment law. His goal is to prevent workplace problems from becoming costly litigation. He can be reached at Scampato@aol.com, Scampato@njlaborlaw.com or 908-301-9095. Visit his website at www.njlaborlaw.com.
 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Cranford Township Committee Approves Pet Adoption Ordinance Amid Strong Feedback

October 12, 2017

CRANFORD, NJ – Public comments grew contentious at Tuesday night’s Cranford Township Committee meeting as the committee approved an ordinance to restrict the sales of dogs and cats.

The ordinance requires that a pet shop may only offer for sale cats and dogs that the pet shop has obtained from an animal care facility or animal rescue organization. Additionally, a pet shop may not ...

A Thoughtful Approach — Brindle for Mayor

October 17, 2017

 My husband and I have lived in Westfield for 38 years and raised three children here. Like many of you, we are concerned with the future of our town and the direction we are headed. Last week I asked my husband to join me at a meet and greet in Westfield for mayoral candidate, Shelley Brindle. As a registered Republican and a thoughtful conservative, he approached the event with ...

Road Safety — What Ward 3 Residents Want

October 17, 2017

 

A major concern that Ward 3 voters have shared with me is road and pedestrian safety. Specifically, residents have said there is too much speeding and too many cars that don’t stop at stop signs. I know Westfield can do better in this area, which is critical because so many of our schoolchildren walk to school every day. I plan to contribute Fresh Ideas and Proactive ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, October 17, 3:00 PM

Livingston Avenue School, Cranford

Cranford Community Blood Drive

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_406726001ccea6f98c7a_mini_magick20171006-2428-om1rr8

Wed, October 18, 7:30 PM

Westfield High School, Westfield

BOE Candidate’s Night

Education

Thu, October 19, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Retired & Senior Volunteer (RSVP) Information ...

Giving Back

Video: Dietze Says Fed Policy Among Key Risks Facing Market

October 17, 2017

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on CNBC on how Federal Reserve policy could prove a headwind for the market!:

cnbc.com/video

For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Two Arrested in Bike Thefts, Car Reported Stolen & More

October 11, 2017

October 4, 2017 7:15 p.m.

A resident of the 100 block of Tudor Oval reported a theft of a bicycle. Victim stated that his daughter’s blue “Trek” bicycle was stolen by unknown actor(s) from a bicycle rack at the Westfield High School. This incident occurred on October 4, 2017 between 1:45 p.m. and 1:50 p.m.

 

October 4, 2017 6:58 p.m.

A resident of the 600 block ...

New Rate for Business Travel

If you or your employees are planning on traveling for business, you'll want to know that there are new per-diem rates for certain expenses, which are in effect from Oct. 1 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018.

 

New rates includes expenses for transportation industry meals and incidental expenses rates, among others.

 

What you need to know.

Dog Found in Westfield Monday

Dog found Monday morning at Dudley and Prospect. Taken to Westfield Police station. 

 

Tips Make Your Home Photo-Ready and Market-Worthy

You’re selling your home, or you’re starting to think about it, but your house hasn’t been updated or painted in years. You want it to look its best before presenting it to prospective buyers, but you don’t know where to begin.

Home Staging Tips
Sprucing up your home can be as simple as adding a new coat of paint, inside and out, or as extensive as interior renovation ...

Westfield 6th Grader Named Jets ‘Upstander of the Week’

Jackson Dowden, 6th grader at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield, has been selected the New York Jets Tri-State Upstander of the Week.  

Christine Cabrales, physical education teacher who nominated Jackson, stated, “Jackson was nominated by the Edison Physical Education staff because he influences people in a positive way. He proves that he is a role model for ...

Establishing, Revising And Enforcing Time-Sharing With Children

In all cases of divorce or separation where children are involved, the issue of time-sharing (previously referred to as “visitation”) is a significant issue to be addressed.  Unless the parents have agreed to an equal shared custodial arrangement, an appropriate schedule of time-sharing is particularly important for all those involved: the custodial parent, the non-custodial ...

Saving for Higher Education Part 2 – What is your savings strategy?

Most people want to save for their children’s education but what is the best strategy? 

There are three different savings strategies from which you can choose: 

1)         save for 100% of all education costs so that your child has no liability

2)         save a specific dollar amount and ...

Family Health

Second Opinion on Breast Cancer Program Offers Peace of Mind

A breast cancer diagnosis can change a person’s life. And during such devastating news, the sheer amount of information regarding treatment and follow-up care can quickly become overwhelming. However, patients are not alone in this fight. Atlantic Health System’s Breast Cancer Second Opinion Program at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, Overlook Medical Center, is helping provide peace of ...

Westfield Area YMCA Announces Fall 2 Session Registration

Registration for the Westfield Area YMCA Fall 2 session program registration begins at 6:00pm on Thursday, Oct. 12 for Full members and at 7:30 a.m., Monday Oct.16 for Basic and Non-Members. The Fall 2 Session runs from Oct. 29 to Dec. 23.

Youth basketball league season is gearing up at the Y with a 3-week pre-season ...

What is Co-Dependency? Learn How to Establish Healthy Boundaries

October 15, 2017

JOIN OUR NEW GROUP

Mondays October 23 at 6:30 or Wednesday’s October 25 at 1:00 p.m.

Codependence is a false attachment to a person, place or thing. It becomes a false sense of importance. It is a learned behavior to take care of others’ needs at the expense of our own. It is driven by the excessive need for others’ approval.  Rather than being ...

'The Honeymooners' smart, snappy production

Smart, sassy production of ‘The Honeymooners’ takes off at Paper Mill

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – “And away we go” indeed. The creative team at the Paper Mill Playhouse has taken the seeds of “The Honeymooners” from 1950’s television and turned it into a smart, snappy musical.

Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are still up to their get-rich-quick ...

The Chatham Library Was Once the Site of a Luxury Hotel

DID YOU KNOW that the Library of the Chathams sits on a site formerly occupied by a luxury hotel? And that the hotel’s livery stable stood facing Passaic Avenue, near where Memorial Pool currently sits?

Chatham was a popular destination during the Resort Era, which spanned from the 1880s through the start of World War I. The Fairview House opened its doors as a summer hotel for the ...

Obituaries

Oct 24, 1926 - Aug 14, 2017
Elizabeth H. List, 90, of Westfield and Cape May, NJ, died peacefully surrounded by her family ...
Read more

Video: Firefighters Battle Five-Alarm Blaze in North Plainfield

October 17, 2017

NORTH PLAINFIELD — Firefighters continue to battle a five-alarm fire that began in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the vacant Villa Maria facility at 641 Somerset Street. At 10 a.m. the fire was still burning and fire companies were being rotated, continuing to operate by hitting hot spots of active fire, authorities said.

Somerset Street South was closed and ...