Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Do You Have a Loved One Who Needs Your Help with Their Care? Do You Need Some Time Off for a Serious Medical Condition?

Tennessee workers and workers from all across the country have loved ones, spouses, children or relatives that at some point in their lives need additional care and support, or maybe a Tennessee or other worker needs to take time off of work for their own personal health or medical matter. Whatever the case, sometimes employees need to take time off of work for medical and other health related reasons, but cannot do so if they fear they may lose their job. This is why the Family Medical Leave Act was created to allow Tennessee employees and employees throughout the country to take leave for medical purposes without losing their job. If you think that your FMLA rights have been violated, you may want to consult with a Tennessee FMLA attorney about your case to get the help you need.

What Is the Family Medical Leave Act and Who Is Eligible for Leave?

The Family Medical Leave Act was created in 1993. This act allows long time employees of large companies possible eligibility to twelve weeks of unpaid leave and return to their job after the leave is over. This act is available to workers who need to help their own spouse, or children or another family member's serious medical condition. Starting in 2008, family members of a worker who serve in the military may be eligible for twenty-six weeks to care for the person who serves in the military. This act does not offer compensation for this leave. The only way an employee can get paid for this time off is if they have paid time off available to them. Some employers may require their employees to take paid time off during their leave. You may be eligible for the Family Medical Leave under this act if any of the following apply to you:

  • Workers of an company with fifty or more workers
  • Employed for at least twelve months and worked at least a total of 1,250 hours in the last year

You may be able to take leave for the following situations:

  • After a new child is born
  • After deciding to foster or adopt a child or children
  • Caring for yourself if it means you cannot perform up to standards at work
  • Caring for a person who has served in the military
What Qualifies as a Serious Health Condition under FMLA?

A serious health condition under FMLA is considered to be an illness, injury, physical or mental impairment that requires inpatient care in the hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility or continuing treatment from a health care provider. If you yourself have a serious health condition, it must be one that will not allow you to perform your duties on the job. These serious health conditions also involve more than a few days for treatment.

If you believe that your FMLA rights have been infringed upon, feel free to contact us online or call 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options. We have employment lawyers licensed in multiple states that are ready to help.

COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FMLAWhat Happens to My Health Benefits During Leave?

Upon paying your part, you will still receive health insurance coverage while on leave. However, if you are thirty days late with your portion, then the employer may cut your health coverage upon leave. If your coverage gets dropped, you may be able to regain it once you are able to come back to your job. However, if you do not return, your employer may recover the costs of the premiums they paid when you were on leave.

Will I Have the Same Job Upon Returning?

Your employer must restore you to the same position or an equal position with equal pay and benefits. However, if your position was eliminated completely, you will not have the right to return to that position. Salaried employees or other key employees do not have the right to return if "substantial and grievous injury" would result. If the employer provides proper notice to a salaried employee before they leave, they do not have to return that employee to their old position upon return.

What Must I Tell My Company Before Going on Leave?

You must tell your company about needing leave 30 days before taking it, if you know about it. If you do not know about it, you are required to inform your company or supervisor about the need for leave by the end of the next workday. However, if your company has already approved you for FMLA leave before, you are required to tell the supervisor that this need for leave deals with the same condition or another need for the leave time; otherwise you may be unable to return to your position. If your company properly informs you about FMLA and your rights, then you are required to complete the Certificate of Health Care Provider form. This certification may be requested any time prior to, during, or after your leave.

The certification must include:

  • Date the condition began
  • Probable duration
  • Facts regarding the condition
  • The worker needs to help a sick or injured family member or relative of someone serving in the military

If your supervisor disagrees with the certification they may seek a different opinion from your doctor or from a third party.

What Notice Must My Employer Provide about FLMA Leave?

An employer must provide four types of notice about your FMLA rights and leave including:

  • General notice (i.e. displaying posters and giving out a handbook)
  • Eligibility notice when an employee requests leave
  • Designation notice within five days of being given information whether a request qualifies for FMLA leave
  • "Rights and responsibilities" notice to an employee taking leave in writing, explaining their expectations
Do I Have to Take Any Tests Before I Return to Work?

Your supervisor has the right to request certification from a doctor stating you are able to perform. If your employer provided you with certain job criteria before you left, then the certification may also be required to state that you can perform. The employer must accept the exam given by your doctor.

What Can I Do If My FMLA rights Are Not Upheld?

If you feel that your FMLA rights have been violated, then you can contact the Department of Labor, and they will investigate. You should also contact a Tennessee FMLA lawyer. Our experienced and caring attorneys at the Higgins Firm are here to answer any questions you may have and to help you you get the care you are entitled to.

Contact us online  or call 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options.