The FMLA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Listed below is a very brief summary of the FMLA s provisions focused your rights as an employee. Please contact Teamsters Local 916 at (217) 522-7932 if you have any questions or go to http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/ for more information.
- All public agencies (including state, local and federal employers), local education agencies and private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees who are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
- NOTE: If there are less than 50 employees FMLA coverage does not apply. Look into whether you would be covered under the ADA.
- Work for a covered employer;
- Worked for employer for a total of 12 months (need not be consecutive months);
- Worked at least 1,250 hours over that previous 12 months; AND
- Work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by employer within 75 miles.
If you are an eligible employee who works for a FMLA covered employer, you are entitled to up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for any of the following reasons:
- Birth and care of newborn child of employee;
- Placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- Care for employee spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
- Take medical leave due to employee s own serious health condition; OR
- Qualifying exigencies due to employee s spouse, child or parent is on active military duty or call to active duty as a member of the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation. (NOTE: This qualifying exigency allows up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave; this does not apply to any other FMLA provision).
A "Serious Health Condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either:
- Inpatient Care in medical facility, including any period of incapacity or subsequent treatment related to inpatient care; OR
- Continuing treatment by a health care provider (please see http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/ for details on if you qualify under this provision).
Maintenance of Health Benefits:
- Employer is required to maintain group health insurance coverage for employee on FMLA leave and on the same terms as if employee continued to work.
- The employer may be able to recover premiums paid to maintain coverage for an employee who fails to return from FMLA leave.
- Upon return to work, an employee must be restored to the employee s original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
- Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employee benefit that employee earned or was entitled to before use of FMLA leave.
Notice Rights & Responsibilities
Employees are required to provide 30 day advance notice of need to take FMLA when the leave is foreseeable and notice is practicable. If the leave is not foreseeable, employee must inform the employer as soon as practicable. (NOTE: typically this is construed to mean as soon as possible and no more than two days). The employee must comply with the employer's usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave.
If requesting leave for the first time, the employee need not specifically assert FMLA rights or mention the FMLA but must provide sufficient information for an employer to determine whether FMLA may apply. However, if seeking additional leave for which the employer already previously granted FMLA leave, the employee must specifically reference the qualifying reason or need for FMLA leave.
Employer Notice Obligations:
Once notified by employee or employer learns that leave may be for FMLA purpose, employer must:
- Notify employee of eligibility to take leave;
- Inform employee of rights and responsibilities under the FMLA;
- Notify employee leave is designated and will be counted as FMLA leave.
Certification of Serious Health Condition:
- Employers may require that the leave request be supported by a certification from a health care provider.
- An employer may require a 2nd or 3rd medical opinion (at the employer s expense) and periodic recertification of a serious health condition.
- An employer may use a health care provider, human resource professional, a leave administrator or management official (not employee's direct supervisor) to authenticate or clarify a medical certification of a serious health condition.
- Employers may not ask health care providers for additional information beyond that required by the certification form.
- If an employer deems a medication certification to be incomplete/insufficient, they must specify in writing to the employee of what information is lacking and give the employee seven (7) calendar days to cure the deficiency.
Fitness for Duty Certification:
- An employer may require that the certification specifically address the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the employee's job.
- Where reasonable job safety concerns exist the employer may require a fitness for duty certification before an employee may return to work when the employee takes intermittent leave.
Other Important Notes on FMLA
- LIGHT DUTY: Time spent performing "light duty" work does not count against an employee's FMLA leave entitlement and that employee's right to restoration is held in abeyance during the period of time the employee performs light duty (or until end of applicable 12 month FMLA leave). If employee voluntarily is performing a light duty assignment, employee is not on FMLA leave.
- WAIVER: It is prohibited for an employee to prospectively waive their FMLA rights.
For More information on the FMLA and its provisions, go to their website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/