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What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal act that provides employees with the right to take unpaid leave each year. These benefits are available to employees across the United States for certain family and medical reasons. FMLA is designed to help employees balance professional and family responsibilities, without worrying about termination by employers.

Does FMLA Apply to All Organizations?

FMLA is available to employees of all government agencies, many public and private schools and businesses with at least 50 employees.

Does FMLA Cover All Employees? 

FMLA applies to businesses with 50 or more employees for a minimum of 20 weeks in the previous year. Even if FMLA applies to the business, not all employees are eligible to receive benefits.

Employees can qualify for FMLA benefits if they have a:

  • Minimum of one year of service with employer,
  • Minimum of 1,250 hours for employer in the past year and
  • Minimum of 50 other employees working for employer within 75 miles.

What are the Requirements for FMLA? 

Employees are allowed to take a maximum of 12 weeks leave in a 12-month period. But it is important to note that employees can only secure FMLA benefits in certain situations.

Employees can qualify for FMLA leave if they need to:

  • Nurture and welcome a new child into their family;
  • Recover from a severe health condition;
  • Administer care to family member for a severe health condition;
  • Manage certain “exigencies” related to the military service of a family member; or
  • Administer care to family member for a severe health condition sustained during active military service.

Does Florida Offer Any Additional FMLA Protections?

Florida adds a section concerning domestic violence to federal FMLA benefits. Businesses with a minimum of 50 employees are required to grant employees three days per year to deal with issues related to domestic violence.

This benefit is only available if the victim of domestic violence was the employee or the employee’s immediate family member. In such cases, the employee can request leave to perform certain tasks related to counseling, relocation, medical services, legal services, home security and more.

Do You Need Legal Counsel from a Knowledgeable Employment Attorney? 

Whether you are an employer or employee, it can be difficult to navigate the ins and outs of employment law. With overlapping federal, state and local regulations, it is easy to get overwhelmed. A knowledgeable employment attorney can make a real difference, helping you understand the law and achieve efficient resolutions.

Penichet Law in Miami, Florida, features dedicated experience in matters of labor and employment law. If you have questions about FMLA leave or other aspects of labor and employment law, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. We will be happy to walk your case and provide ample explanation.