Frequently Asked Questions About the FMLA Part I: FMLA Basics

Q. What is the Family & Medical Leave Act?

A. The Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law that allows covered employees to take protected time off for certain family and medical leaves.

Q. Which employees are protected by the FMLA?

mature businessman FMLA medical leave.jpgA. To be protected by the FMLA, an employee must have (1) worked for the same covered employer for the past 12 months, (2) worked at least 1,250 hours (an average of 25 hours per week over 50 weeks) for that company over the previous 12 months, and (3) worked in a location where there are at least 50 employees working for the employer within 75 miles.

Q. Which employers are covered by the FMLA?

A. States, and most companies and government agencies with at least 50 employees are covered by the FMLA. However, government agencies and States Cannot Be Sued for Violations of FMLA Relating to Self Care Medical Leaves. They can be sued only for violations relating to family leaves.

Q. How much time off am I entitled to take under the FMLA?

A. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks off in a 12 month period for a qualifying medical leave, family leave, or maternity/paternity leave.

Q. Am I protected under the FMLA if I am not planning to return to work after my leave?

A. No. If you tell your employer that you do not plan to return to work at the end of your FMLA leave, then your employer is not required to grant you an FMLA leave. Accordingly, your employer has the right to periodically ask you if and when you expect to return to work.

Q. Will I Continue to Receive Health Insurance From My Company During My FMLA Leave?

A. Yes. Your company must continue your coverage under any group health plan during your FMLA leave, with the same conditions that would have applied if you had not taken the leave.

In our next article, we will answer Frequently Asked Questions about What Types of FMLA Leaves are available under the FMLA. In future articles, we will discuss How to Request an FMLA Leave, and the right to Reinstatement and Legal Remedies available under the FMLA.


If you work in New Jersey or New York and would like more information about you employment law rights under the FMLA, please contact Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg at (973) 744-4000 or (973) 744-4000.

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