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

Clark PD Plans DWI Checkpoint

August 20, 2017

CLARK, NJ — The Clark Township Police Department has issued notification they will be holding a DWI checkpoint beginning on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 9 p.m. and ending at 3 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27.

The checkpoint will be located in the northbound lanes of Brant Avenue in Clark, directly in front of Mother Seton High School. Vehicles headed towards the Garden State Parkway ...

Shelley Brindle: ‘Charlottesville is Personal’

August 16, 2017

My husband Kip and I are graduates of University of Virginia, as is my sister, brother-in-law and two of my nieces. What’s going on in Charlottesville is personal, for many reasons.

Returning home from the vigil Sunday night, I couldn't be prouder of our community. In the face of this horror, we are brought together by hope and the presence of each other.

I grew up in Virginia, ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_899a3b34adbc970f73e6_d5e83618aa81fc0517f5_solar_eclipse_live_streaming_8.21.17

Mon, August 21, 12:00 PM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Live Screening of Rare Solar Eclipse

Education

Carousel_image_69f79414e501884b5b87_f961661d15e1702a03a1_eclips_eye_safety_infographic__cropped_

Mon, August 21, 12:00 PM

Trailside Nature and Science Center, New Providence

Solar Eclipse Viewing at Trailside Nature and ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Opines on Best Picks Amid Trump Administration Staff Change

August 21, 2017

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, appeared live on Fox Business detailing top stock picks and the latest political developments:

 

video.foxbusiness.com

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

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Bicycles Reported Stolen & More

August 16, 2017

 August 9, 2017 12:08 p.m.

Mr. Kareem Jordan, age 42, of Plainfield, NJ, was arrested at the Middlesex County Courthouse on the strength of one outstanding warrant issued by the Westfield Municipal Court. Mr. Jordan was transported to the Union County Jail in lieu of posting the requisite bail.

 

August 5, 2017 4:57 p.m.

A business located in the 200 block of E. South Avenue ...

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

Reduce Summertime Costs

Summer time may cause child care issues because younger children are out of school during times when the parents would be able to be at work. 

"Many of my clients find themselves having to pay for summer programs so the child is taken care while they work,"  Louri Rivero Borr, of Rivero CPA said. "Raising children is expensive enough without having to pay for ...

Westfield Board of Education Meeting to be Held Aug. 29

The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education will be Tuesday, August 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 105 at 302 Elm St.  The public is welcome to attend. The business agenda will include a report on summer programs such as STEM camp, as well as an update on summer facility projects.   

A complete agenda will be available on the Board ...

Fostering Healthy Habits in Young Children

August 17, 2017

Every parent knows that fostering healthy habits in children is important, but there is no instruction manual for how to go about it. It can be tough to recognize habits forming before they become routine, and, as most parents know firsthand, bad habits are hard to break. In the middle of a tantrum or a broccoli boycott, it can even seem like giving in to unhealthy habits is the only option. But ...

Westfield Area YMCA Healthy U Program Recognizes Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and many families need support changing their families’ habits with the ultimate goal of being a healthy weight. That’s why the Westfield Area YMCA wants families to improve eating habits and increase physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects one in six children in the U.S.

Richard DeLuca Joins GWACC Board

Richard DeLuca of the Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper law firm has joined the board of the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce (GWACC).

“We are fortunate to have Mr. Richard DeLuca join our board of directors. His experience will complement those of the current board members and I am sure that he will be a very active member and bring new and fresh ideas to all ...

Meet Pete Brown

Name: Pete Brown, manager at Gartland and Mellina Group (GMG), a management consulting firm in New York City.

Years in Westfield: 9

Family: 

Wife, Megan, Realtor at Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty 

Children:

Seamus,  9

Fiona, 7

Declan,  5

MEET PETE

This devoted husband and loving father of three ...

Small Dog Found in Roselle Park Monday

UPDATE: Reuninted with owner.

ORIGINAL POST: Small male dog found on Faitoute Avenue in Roselle Park around 6 p.m. Monday. He was not wearing a collar. Picked up by Roselle Park Police Department.

Protecting Your Credit; Before, During and After a Divorce

Unfortunately, at the time a divorce is finalized an individual can encounter new and unanticipated financial obligations. Any debt that was incurred during the marriage and will not be paid off at the time of divorce needs to be addressed in the parties’ settlement agreement. It is important that any written settlement reached between the divorcing parties be thorough and clear as to which ...

Bloomfield Man Fatally Shot by Police Following Domestic Dispute

August 19, 2017

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A Bloomfield police officer was involved in a shooting on Greenbrook Drive Friday morning, according to town officials and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. 

Leroy Frank, 60, was shot and killed by a Bloomfield police officer on Friday after he lunged with a knife at another officer, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said in a ...