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Family and Medical Leave Act causes confusion in the workplace

Serious medical conditions have caused many employees to take time off from work.

When employees find themselves suffering from a medical condition that prevents them from working, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows them to take no more than 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover from their medical condition or to assist an immediate family member. Once their leave is over, they can return to their regular job duties without consequence.

To be eligible for FMLA, an employee has to have been employed by their employer for no less than 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours and there should be at least 50 employees working for their employer. Even though a person may meet the criteria and is eligible for FMLA, this does not mean they will be able to take leave. This is actually where the law gets a little confusing for employees.

There has recently been a discussion about the Family and Medical Leave Act and how some of its rules are not very clear to employees. For example, the act states that employees can take medical leave to take care of an immediate family member who has a serious medical condition. To most, an immediate family member would be a grandparent or a sibling, but it only includes your parent, spouse or child.

Another point of confusion is paid time off. Employers have the right to deny or approve an employee?s request for PTO. When someone wants to take leave, their employer can decide whether or not they will use paid sick leave or FMLA unpaid leave.

The Family Medical Leave Act only sets a standard among employers, but it is ultimately up to the state and employer if they want to expand the policies and allow their employees leave.

If you are an employee seeking FMLA and have experienced difficulty, an Indianapolis employment law attorney may be able to assist you.

Source: US News, "The Stickiest Points of Using Family and Medical Leave," Jada A. Graves, May 4,2014

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