Understanding The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Part 1 – What is the Act and Is My Company Effected?

What is the Act?

FMLA became effective on August 5, 1993, for most employers. If a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was in effect on that date, FMLA became effective on the expiration date of the CBA or February 5, 1994, whichever was earlier. FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. The employer may elect to use the calendar year, a fixed 12-month leave or fiscal year, or a 12-month period prior to or after the commencement of leave as the 12-month period.

Who is required to comply?

FMLA applies to all:

  • public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local education agencies (schools), and
  • private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year and who are engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce — including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

Who is covered?

To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:

  • work for a covered employer;
  • have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months*;
  • have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months*; and
  • work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

For more information on the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, please click on the following link to download an article from the U.S. Department of Labor

Click here to download the pdf.

Or access the website at http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs28.htm

Best Practices for Compliance:

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides benefit protections your employees value, but it can also create confusion regarding key FMLA requirements, the implications of noncompliance, and the best ways to mitigate compliance risks.

Most employers who have 50 or more employees rely on HR or Time and Attendance software to manage and track employees whom are covered by FMLA.  FMLA can work on different tracking methodologies from Calendar Year, Corporate Fiscal Year,  Employee Year or 12 month rolling period measured backward from the date leave is used.  Since employees can use leave intermittently or only a few hours a week and the law provides for a concurrent 12 month period, most employers cannot manage tracking the leaven taken and eligibility in an Excel spreadsheet.

If you would like more information about FMLA or other HR benefit tracking issues, please contact us at info@axisglobalpartners.com to schedule a consultation on employer best practices for HR Management.

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