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What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States labor law requiring covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.  Covered employers must grant FMLA leave for one or more of the following situations:

  • The employee cannot work because of a serious medical condition.
  • The employee must care for an immediate family member that has a serious medical condition.
  • The birth and/or subsequent care of the employee’s child.
  • The placement and/or subsequent care of an adopted or foster care child.
  • A “qualifying exigency” from the employee’s spouse, child or parent being on active duty or has been called to active duty for the National Guard or Reserve in support of a contingency operation.

FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

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