What is the 'Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)'

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a labor law requiring larger employers to provide employees unpaid leave for serious family health issues. Such qualified medical and family reasons may include adoption, pregnancy, foster care placement, family or personal illness, or military leave. It also provides for continuation of health insurance coverage and job protection. The FMLA is intended to provide families with the time and resources to deal with family emergencies, while also providing guidance to employers.

Breaking Down 'Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)'

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an acknowledgement by the federal government of changes in families, the workplace, the labor force, and expectations of both employees and employers. For example, the proliferation of single-parent households, or households in which both parents work. The FMLA seeks to remove the choice workers and parents may have to make between job security and caring for their children, or elderly and extended family. It is an acknowledgement that children and families are better off when mothers can participate in early child-rearing, the outsized roles women play in caregiving, and the fact that their role as default caregiver has a significant impact on their working lives. The FMLA is often referred to as the "Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993." It was signed into law on Aug. 5, 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Guarantees

An employee who takes unpaid leave that falls under the FMLA is job-protected; that is, the employee can return to the same position held before the leave began. If the same position is unavailable, the employer must provide a position that is substantially equal in pay, benefits and responsibility. To qualify for FMLA, an employee must be employed by a business with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of his or her work site. The employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours within the last 12 months. The FMLA mandates unpaid, job-protected leave for up to 12 weeks a year. For more on employee and employer rights and responsibilities, see the Department of Labor's FMLA Informational Page or Fact Sheet #28, which offer more details.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Purposes

The FMLA, as administered and recorded by the Department of Labor, has the following purposes:

  • to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity;

  • to entitle employees to take reasonable leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child, and for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition;

  • to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers;

  • to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a manner that, consistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of sex by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons (including maternity-related disability) and for compelling family reasons, on a gender-neutral basis; and

  • to promote the goal of equal employment opportunity for women and men, pursuant to such clause.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Immediate Family

    The immediate family is a person's smallest family unit, consisting ...
  2. Terms of Employment

    Terms of employment are conditions that an employer and employee ...
  3. Family of Funds

    A family of funds includes all the funds managed by one investment ...
  4. Friends and Family Shares

    Friends and family shares are often the very first form of outside ...
  5. Termination of Employment

    Termination of employment refers to the end of an employee’s ...
  6. General Employer

    A general employer is an employee’s original employer in the ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    The ABCs of Maternity Leave in California

    Using these maternity leave options in California can be beneficial to expectant and new moms.
  2. Personal Finance

    Your Boss Can't Do That! Laws That Protect Workers

    By federal law, American employees enjoy many legal protections that– among other things– provide a minimal level of income and make the workplace safer.
  3. Insights

    Top 25 Richest American Families

    Find out who America's wealthiest clans are. Number 3 may give you a stomach ache.
  4. Personal Finance

    Run Your Family Finances Like a Business

    By using the techniques employed by thriving corporations, your family can be more successful.
  5. Managing Wealth

    Establishing Rules for Family Wealth

    To maintain family wealth it is important to establish rules that everyone agrees on.
  6. Personal Finance

    4 Things To Consider Before Switching Jobs

    Before switching jobs in a rough economy, there are some considerations to make. Back-up plans are important, if the opportunity is worth the risk.
  7. Taxes

    Family Philanthropy: Giving at All Ages

    Family philanthropy can bring a family closer together and teach children the importance of giving.
  8. Managing Wealth

    7 HR Basics for Small Businesses

    Whether or not you are a fan of human resources, every employer needs to know the answers to these questions.
  9. Personal Finance

    Which Family Financial Sacrifices Are Worth It?

    What types of spending yield the greatest benefit for families?
  10. Personal Finance

    8 Things Employers Aren't Allowed to Ask You

    In their eagerness for gainful employment, many people may overlook these improper interview questions.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is a family Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

    Learn about family limited liability (LLC) companies and why they are useful tools in the United States to protect family ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center