You never know when a medical emergency will occur. From the birth of a child to the serious illness of a family member, life can throw any unforeseen medical situation at you.
COVID-19 global pandemic has caused many businesses to work from home or lay off workers. It has also brought up questions of how FMLA can be applied during a pandemic.
The Family Medical Leave Act or FMLA “entitles employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.”
Who Is Covered
The FMLA act does not cover all employees. You are eligible if you work for a covered employer and:
- have worked for your employer for at least 12 months
- have at least 1,250 hours of logged over the previous 12 months
- work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by your employer within 75 miles.
What Am I Eligible For
If you are caring for yourself or a family member, you are entitled leave under FMLA under certain circumstances. FMLA gives employees eligibility to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a year time period.
You are entitled to this for circumstances such as:
- the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth
- the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement
- to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
- a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job
- any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”
How Can It Be Violated
FMLA can be violated by employers and employees. Common ways include:
- Wrongful termination because of an illness
- Wrongful demotion after an employee has given birth or missed a substantial amount of work
- Firing an employee for taking care of a relative, spouse, or child
- Loss of wages and employee benefits related to medical or family emergencies