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The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (commonly abbreviated "FMLA") requires some employers to provide unpaid leave for serious health conditions, to care for sick family members, or to care for children. Specifically, employers must grant qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Upon return from the unpaid leave, the employees must be restored to the same position they held previously (or an equivalent position). Employers must also continue any provided health benefits during the leave. In this article, Dallas employment discrimination attorneys from Erick & Thomas will provide a general overview of the act and its provisions.

What Types of Serious Health Conditions Are Covered?

An employer is not required to provide time off for routine medical care, such as check-ups, or for common illnesses like common colds or short-term ailments like ear infections or isolated asthma attacks. The definition of "serious health condition" can change as courts decide new cases on the issue, but generally speaking, an employee is protected if he or she misses work due to a health condition that requires continuous treatment form more than a few days or a chronic condition that continues over a long period. This includes heart attacks, pneumonia, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and some cases of cancer. Leave can also be required for medical treatments that leave an employee unable to work for more than three days, like chemotherapy. The FMLA also allows workers time off to care for seriously ill family members. It does not allow time off to care for relatives with short-term illnesses or colds, or to care for pets (even seriously ill ones).

What About Caring for a Child?

The FMLA also allows an employee to take unpaid leave to care for a newly born child or a child that was newly adopted or put into foster care. Such a child does not need to have a serious health condition for the parent to take time off.

What Employers Does the FMLA Affect?

Not every Dallas employee is entitled to unpaid leave under the FMLA. In order for an employer to be affected by the Act, it must have more than 50 employees or be a public agency or a local educational agency. It does not protect part-time employees who have worked less than 1,250 hours in the past 12 months.

A Dallas Employment Discrimination Attorney Can Help

If you believe that you have been unlawfully discriminated against in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, a Dallas employment discrimination attorney may be able to help you be reinstated to your old position and to recover lost wages and benefits. Call our Dallas employment law office for a free case evaluation at 214-691-6200.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Usage of this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
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