Navigating Family & Medical Leave

DorisWhen a medical situation arises, you have many things to take care of and may find yourself confused by questions related to your benefits and your rights for taking leave related to the situation.  You may have heard of “FML” but may be unsure of what it means or if it applies to you.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that became effective on August 5, 1993.

The law is intended to provide an employee time away from their job for reasons covered under the law to tend to serious or chronic health conditions for themselves or immediate family (spouse, child or parent).

Since 1993, there have been a few modifications including updates in early 2009 to the law and the required documentation/forms. These updates included new forms for certification by a health care provider which gives more detailed documentation and insures both the health care provider and those reviewing the FML request have the necessary information. The update also included provisions for some military cases, and a specific request form for military cases.

To be eligible for FML you must be employed for a minimum of one year with your employer and worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to the start of FML leave.  Completion of FML request forms and medical provider documentation is required prior to your leave, or as soon as possible following an emergency medical situation.  Approval or denial is based on FML criteria/law and your provided information upon review by Human Resources and Occupational Health.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50+ employees to provide up to 12 work weeks in a 12-month period of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees.  Eligible employees must request Family and Medical Leave to be used for the following:

  1. Upon the birth of the employee’s child
  2. Upon the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  3. When the employee is needed to care for his/her child, spouse or parent who has a serious health condition
  4. When the employee is unable to perform the functions of his/her position because of a serious health condition

Staff and supervisors may find more information about FML at the websites below.
Staff requiring FML assistance or forms should contact Human Resources.  It is the individual’s (staff) responsibility to request FML and submit required documentation.



Note: This post  is for general informational purposes only (7/1/09), please refer to above policies or contact your Human Resources office for specific details, forms, or updates to policy and/or law.

Doris Pendergrass
HR Manager
Department of Pathology