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The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave in a 12-month period that employees may use to treat their own or a family member’s serious health condition. To be eligible, an employee must meet two requirements:

1. The employee must work for an employer with more than 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius; and
2. The employee must have worked for the employer for more than 12 months and worked more than 1250 hours (or approximately 25 hours per week) during that 12-month period.

Employees that meet these requirements can take FMLA leave to treat their own or an immediate family member’s serious health condition, to care for and/or bond with a newborn or adopted child, or to address emergencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s immediate family member is on active duty with the armed forces.

Employees can take FMLA leave over a set period of time or intermittently, depending on the nature of the reason for the leave. Employees can also use FMLA leave to reduce their daily or weekly work schedule.

An employer is not required to pay an employee that is on FMLA leave, but the employer is required to return the employee to the same job (or one that is nearly identical in most respects) at the end of the FMLA leave. The FMLA also requires employers to maintain an employee’s group health benefits during leave. When it comes to bonus compensation, an employer cannot use the fact that an employee took FMLA leave to prorate or reduce an employee’s bonus compensation -- but an employer can award bonuses based on certain production or attendance goals.

The FMLA prohibits retaliation against employees that exercise (or try to exercise) rights protected by the FMLA. Common types of employer retaliation include: failure to return the employee to the same position at the end of leave, demotion to a lesser position either before or soon after the employee returns from leave, or denial of future promotions, bonuses, or salary increases. If you believe that your employer has violated your rights under the FMLA or if you simply have questions about your FMLA rights, you can contact the attorneys at the Filosa Law Firm by either calling (212) 256-1780 or filling out the form here.
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