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Family Medical Leave ActDo You Need to Take Time Off of Work to Help a Family Member?

When Tennessee residents each leave home to go to work every day, many of us have to make sure that our kids get to school, or that family members with an illness are in the proper hands. However, even if everything is planned, things happen and sometimes we need to take off of work to help a family member in need. This happens to residents all across the country, including the ones right here in Tennessee. This is the main reason; the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was drafted and became a law. This permits staff members of companies to take the time they need off of work and not be at risk of losing their current position. If you have questions or concerns about your FMLA or think you have an FMLA case, then it is very important to contact a Tennessee FMLA lawyer right away to assist you. At The Higgins Firm, we are here to help you with your FMLA claim.

How is Family Leave Act Defined and who Qualifies for it?

This is a federal law that was designed to permit staff members of businesses to take time off to help treat their own illnesses, the illnesses of family members or to provide care for children. This law does not permit a business or supervisor to take away job benefits or your position while on leave and helps to make sure you can return to them when your time off is over. The time off comes without pay unless the staff member has paid days off that they can use. It also can last for a total of twelve weeks. Beginning in 2008, members of the armed forces and their relatives were permitted to take time off for a total of twenty–six weeks to provide assistance to the person that is in the armed forces. Staff members who qualify for this time off may consist of:

  • Staff members of a business with at least fifty people
  • Been a staff member for a minimum of a year and performed a minimum of 1,250 hours in that year

You may qualify for time off under this law if you are:

  • Needed to look after a new born child or children (including adopted and foster children)
  • If your own illness means you cannot put in the efforts needed on the job
  • If you are providing assistance to someone in the armed forces

How does FMLA Define a Severe Medical Problem?

According to FMLA a severe medical problem or illness is defined as a sickness (physical or mental) that involves needing help in the hospital, medical facility, long-term care by a doctor or hospice care. The sickness or problem has to severe enough that you cannot put in the needed effort of your job. It also has to involve care that lasts for more than a couple days.

You may contact us online or by phone at 800.705.2121 to speak with us about your legal options.

Like any law, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be difficult to understand. We have comprised the following information to address some common questions.

Will I Lose Benefits by Taking Time Off?

By maintaining your portion due, you will still have your benefits when you take time off. If you are more than a month late, your supervisor then has the right to suspend your benefits when you are off of work. If your benefits stop, you still might be able to recover them after returning to your job. If you decide not to return after your time off, then your supervisor has the right to recover the lost benefits.

Will There be any Changes to my Position When I Take Time Off?

Your company is obligated under FMLA to return your position or a position that offers the same pay and benefits. If a business eliminates the position, though, it is not within your FMLA rights to have that position returned to you. Vital staff members cannot return to their position if the business would experience losses by allowing it. Finally, if a business notifies staff members before they take time off, then that business does not have to keep that position open upon return.

How Must I Inform My Business About Needing to Take Time Off?

You must tell your business about your need for time off a minimum of thirty days in advance, if you are aware of it. If you are unaware, you must tell your business by the end of the following work day. If your business has previously qualified you for FMLA, you must notify them that this time off concerns the same severe medical problem or sickness. If you do not, you may not be able to return to work after taking time off. If your business properly notifies you about your FMLA rights, then you must complete a Certificate of Health Care Provider form.

The Form or Certificate Given to Your Boss or Business Must State:

  • When the sickness or wound started
  • How long it will probably last
  • Information about the problem or sickness
  • That the staff member is needed to assist a family member or person in the armed forces

Does My Business Have to Tell Me Anything About My FMLA Before I Take Time Off?

Yes. Your boss must give you information about your time off. This consists of:

  • Putting up posters or giving employees a book of guidelines
  • Telling a staff member if they qualify for leave
  • Letting an employee know if their request falls under FMLA
  • A written notice given to an employee who takes time off, stating expectations

What Happens Upon Return?

You will be asked to provide a certificate from a doctor that states you are physically able to complete your job. Some bosses give staff members a list of work standards when they leave. If so, then the form also must state that you can meet these responsibilities.

How can a FMLA Lawyer Assist Me?

If you are concerned you qualify for FMLA but are not getting it, contact the Tennessee Department of Labor. Also, you may tell a Tennessee FMLA attorney about your situation. They can assist you in getting your job back, compensation, or benefits. The attorneys at The Higgins Firm know how confusing and frustrating situations like this may be. We want to make sure you get the treatment that is rightfully yours.

You may contact us online or by phone at 1.800.705.2121 to speak with us about your legal options.

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