Although many people know that federal law requires employers to pay their workers the minimum wage and to compensate them for overtime, few are aware that they also have rights to unpaid leave in certain cases. This is because Congress enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a law that entitles qualifying employees to 90 days of unpaid leave every year for family and medical-related reasons. Unfortunately, many employers fail to abide by these rules, so if you believe that you qualify for FMLA leave, you should consider contacting an experienced Columbus FMLA lawyer who can ensure that your rights are protected.
The FMLA only applies to certain employees, including individuals who are employed by:
Employees who fall under these categories are guaranteed certain rights under the FMLA, including up to three months of unpaid leave per year. However, FMLA leave is only granted in specific situations, such as:
While most leave is capped at three months, in some cases, it can be extended to up to 26 weeks during a one year period, but only if an employee needs to take the time off to care for a spouse, parent, child, or next of kin who is also a service member recovering from a serious injury.
Even when employers must abide by the FMLA, a worker can only take FMLA-approved leave if he or she:
Fortunately, the 12 months of employment does not have to be consecutive for an employee to qualify for FMLA leave. This means that any time previously worked for the same employer can be used to satisfy the 12 month requirement, a rule that also applies to seasonal work. The only exception to this rule is in cases where an employee has a break in service that lasted more than seven years.
Covered employers cannot deny or interfere with the rights granted to qualifying employees by the FMLA. This includes a prohibition against discriminating against a worker for exercising an FMLA right or for:
Employers who fail to uphold these protections can be required to reinstate employees, pay lost wages, and provide coverage for medical expenses that would have been provided under the employer’s insurance.
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