Family & Medical Leave Attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana
Family and Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) entitles qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child, because of the employee’s own serious health condition, or for the care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition. The FMLA covers any individual or entity engaged in commerce that employs 50 or more individuals for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar work weeks in a year. The 50 or more employees must be working within 75 miles of the employee’ work site.
To be eligible for leave under the FMLA, an employee must have been employed for at least 12 months, and the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months.
Both male and female employees who meet the requirements of the law are entitled to FMLA leave for the birth and care of a newborn child or for the placement in their home of adopted or foster children.
Employers are required to provide FMLA leave to employees who suffer from serious health conditions that make them incapable of performing an essential function of their work. Regulations state that a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either “in-patient care” or “continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.”
Before granting FMLA leave, an employer may require that the employee provide a letter from a doctor certifying the employee’s serious health condition.
Employees are required to give their employer 30 days’ notice of an intent to take leave, or in an emergency, as much notice as is “practicable.”
Eligible employees are entitled to a total of 12 work weeks of FMLA leave during any 12 month period. Leave may be taken in separate blocks of time if the leave is taken to care for a sick family member or for the employee’s own illness. Sometimes an employee only needs to take leave on an occasional basis for medical appointments or for medical treatments such as chemotherapy, where short absences may be necessary.
Employers may require an employee requesting intermittent leave to move to another position for which the employee is qualified when the need for intermittent leave is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment. The employee must receive equal pay and benefits for the new position, but the employee does not have to be assigned similar duties.
An employee who receives FMLA leave is entitled, upon return from the leave, to be restored to the same or an “equivalent” position with the same seniority rights and benefits. An employee may file a complaint with the Department of Labor or file a civil action to recover damages against an employer who violates the law. Lawsuits must be filed within two years of the employer’s most recent violation of the law, or three years if the violation was willful. If an employee prevails in a lawsuit, he or she may also recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Rifkin, Blanck & Rubenstein, P.C. has handled a number of FMLA claims and we can help you to understand your rights and remedies under the law. If you have been denied FMLA leave, or if your employer has terminated your employment because you took FMLA leave, we can help you.
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