Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed by Congress in 1993 in an effort to provide employees protection in case they need to take time off from work for their own medical conditions or the medical condition of a family member. Coverage of the FMLA does not extend to all employees and not all employers qualify for protection under the FMLA. The FMLA also does not mandate that the off time has to be paid. What the FMLA does provide is time off for certain medical conditions of the employee or a family member. Additionally, the FMLA seeks to protect the covered employee’s ability to return to his or her position upon return to work at the end of the leave. Recent developments of the Act also provide for similar vacation time for families of deployed military personnel under certain circumstances. Many employers do not recognize their duties under the FMLA, including what events trigger their responsibility to inquire about the employee’s condition and what information is permitted to be inquired into. Such lack of knowledge may result in liability, even when no harm was intended by the employer in denying an employee’s rights.