What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Actwas passed in 1993 as a means for families to be able balance their family obligations along with work. How it works is that the law states that employers must allow employees to take unpaid time off or leave in order to care for recover from a serious illness or take care of family members. Of course, there are caveats that we cover in this informational article.

Who is Covered by FMLA?

There are specific instances where an employee is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act. First of all, an employer has to have at least 50 employees. Those with fewer than 50 workers do not have to comply with FMLA. Yet, government agencies (including local, state and federal employers) and elementary and secondary schools are covered by the FMLA, regardless of the number of employees. Also, there are special exceptions for flight crew employees and airline flight attendants due to their non-traditional hours of work.

The second qualification for FMLA is the amount of hours you have worked. The minimum is 1250 hours in the course of 12 months prior to your leave. This is roughly 24 hours each week in a year.

The last caveat is somewhat more complex. How it works is that you have to work at a location that is within 75 miles from where your employer has 50 employees. What this means is that if you work remotely and it is 75 miles away from your employer, it does not matter if there are 50 employees working there or not.

How Is It Used?

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule and each case is different but there are common instances when FMLA is used.

These are the most common instances for a serious illness where the Family and Medical Leave Act is appropriate:

  • Pregnancy. This includes more than just the birth. It also includes things like medically required bed rest, morning sickness that incapacitates the mother, and prenatal medical appointments.
  • Overnight Hospitalization. These are illnesses where an overnight stay at a medical facility or hospital is required.
  • Incapacitating Conditions. This is when a condition causes you or a family member to miss school or work for more than three days in a row and require treatment that is ongoing. This can include things like one appointment where follow-up care is required and this includes prescriptions as well as multiple healthcare treatments with a medical provider.
  • Chronic Conditions. These are those that cause occasional periods when you or your family member are incapacitated and require treatment by a health care provider at least twice a year.

Other Situations Where FMLA is Appropriate

Along with the above, there are other common situations where the Federal Medical Leave Act works to your benefit.

Military Family Leave

In some situations, the FMLA provides military family leave benefits to certain families. These fall under requirements such as certain military deployments. Another situation is if you need to take care of a military family member there is up to 26 weeks covered in a year’s time period if the service member is covered as well and has a serious illness or injury.

Family Expansion

Family expansion covers more than just a pregnancy. According to the government:

You may take FMLA leave for the birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child, or for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to bond with that child. Men and women have the same right to take FMLA leave to bond with their child but it must be taken within one year of the child’s birth or placement and must be taken as a continuous block of leave unless the employer agrees to allow intermittent leave (for example, a part-time schedule).

Now, there are specific titles that are used that must be met. For instance, a parent includes many situations such as a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or an individual who stands in as providing financial support or day to day care for a child. This is known as in loco parentis.

The title of son or daughter includes a child who is biological, adopted, a stepchild, foster child, legal ward, or the aforementioned in loco parentis child who is under the age of 18 years. An example of a child under 18 in loco parentis is one who is the child of someone in loco parentis who is not able to care for themselves t the time that FMLA leave is to commence.

A spouse is fairly self-explanatory where a couple are married. Yet, this also applies to those in same-sex marriages as well as common law marriages.

In Loco Parentis is once again an important factor. Even employees with no biological relationship to a child can still be a part of this component and are entitled to the same FMLA time off. An example is a grandmother who cares for her grandchildren while the parents are deployed or a same-sex partnership where one person cares for the other person’s child or children. Also, an eligible employee is entitled to FMLA leave to care for a person who stood in loco parentis to that employee when the employee was a child.

What Happens When You Use FMLA?

There are many benefits to using the Federal Medical Leave Act. For instance:

You can take up to 12 weeks off with protection in keeping your job. In fact, time off using the FMLA means it cannot be used against you for disciplinary actions, promotions, or hiring.

The employers must continue your health insurance just as it was before. Of course, you will still have to make your payments, as if you were working.

Although FMLA is unpaid leave, for those who have vacation time, sick time, and personal time built up, they can use that time in combination with FMLA so that they still receive a paycheck. You must still follow the regular rules about submitting this time off and your employer can make requirements. For example, your employer may require you to use a week of your vacation time during this leave. This means that even if you do not want to use the time off you have built up with your employment, the employer can require it. An example is that you need one week off for surgery and two weeks of vacation time coming. The employer can require you to use up the vacation time first.

If you are able to return to work before all of the FMLA time has been used, your job is protected and you must be able to return to the same one or one that is similar. This means that you do not have to deal with the stress of deciding between taking the time you need and losing your job.

You can take FMLA leave as either a single block of time (for example, three weeks of leave for surgery and recovery) or in multiple, smaller blocks of time if medically necessary (for example, occasional absences due to a specific illness or condition like diabetes.) Part time absences are possible as well. For instance, if you have a surgery and can return to work but only part time, it is still possible to use FMLA for your leave.

Communicating With Your Employer

Communication is key when it comes to FMLA and your employer. You must give ample notice when taking FMLA – at least 30 days in advance if known, and as soon as possible in emergency cases. Communication makes everything go smoother and keeps misunderstandings at bay.

If there are changes, let your employer know. For example, you can return to work sooner or need more time away from work. The employer also should give you your eligibility rights as well as a notice of your responsibilities and rights.

You do not have to necessarily as for FMLA by name but all the information you can provide is imperative so that your employer knows that you may be covered under the Federal Medical Leave Act. In fact, while you do not have to share a diagnosis or very specific personal information, it is important to let your employer know enough information to determine if you may qualify.

The flow of information is:

  • Notifying your employer of your need for leave
  • Your employer letting you know if you are FMLA eligible
  • Provide a completed certification to your employer within 15 calendar days
  • Employer notifies you within five days if the leave is FMLA-designated
  • Protection under FMLA
  • Return to work to the same or close to the same job (It should be nearly identical)

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FMLA and Inpatient Rehab: How Does it Work?

A large portion of people who suffer from drug abuse are employed at least part time. In fact, according to he Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, that number is at approximately 70 percent. If you have an addiction, you may be wondering if you will lose your job if you enter rehab. Here is what you need to know about FMLA and inpatient rehab. What it is, how it works, and how you can use it to your benefit.

What is the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Actwas passed in 1993 as a means for families to be able balance their family obligations along with work. How it works is that the law states that employers must allow employees to take time off or leave in order to care for recover from a serious illness or take care of family members. Of course, there are caveats that we cover in this informational article.

How Does it Work?

One of the most important things to consider first is how the Family and Medical Leave Act works to your benefit. First, you can read the following to see who it covers and if you may qualify.

There are general circumstances where an employee is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act. One of the first qualifying components is an employer has to have at least 50 employees. Those with fewer than 50 workers do not have to comply with FMLA. This means that if the company you work for has at least 50 workers, your employer has to comply with the FMLA and its rules.

There are other circumstances such as government agencies (including local, state and federal employers) and elementary and secondary schools are covered by the FMLA, regardless of the number of employees. Also, there are special exceptions for flight crew employees and airline flight attendants due to their non-traditional hours of work. So in these cases, you are still under the umbrella of the FMLA’s benefits.

The second qualification for FMLA is the amount of hours you have worked. The minimum is 1250 hours in the course of 12 months prior to your leave. This is roughly 24 hours each week in a year. This means that even those who work part time and qualify under the other conditions have the benefits of the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is not just for full-time employees, which is extremely helpful for all workers regardless of their full or part-time status.

The last qualifying circumstance is important. You have to work at a location that is within 75 miles from where your employer has 50 employees. What this means is that if you work remotely and it is 75 miles away from your employer, it does not matter if there are 50 employees working there or not.

So if you worked at least the 1250 hours in a year, your employer has 50 employees working in the immediate area, or you fall under one of the other situations such as a government employee – then you have FMLA backing.

FMLA and Inpatient Rehab

Now that you know how the Family and Medical Leave Act works, here is what to know about it and inpatient rehab.

Under the FMLA, you have protection for your job for up to 12 weeks for a 12 month period during leaves of absences for medical reasons of your own or your immediate family, including for the treatment of a serious medical condition. And even with all of the conditions that must be met to qualify for the FMLA, many who have addiction issues find that it helps them out during the time they need to be away from work.

For those with an addiction, you will have to ensure that it qualifies as a serious medical condition. This can sometimes be as simple as a referral from your doctor. This also means that you need to be honest with your employer. While you do not have to disclose the specific diagnosis to your employer, they are required to keep your medical needs in confidence.

The Importance of Communication With Your Employer

As mentioned, speaking with your employer about your addiction can help ensure that you are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This may be hard to do and you may feel uncomfortable. But you are not only probably not the first person to have substance abuse issues but like we mentioned earlier, your employer has to keep everything in confidence.

And with the protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act, you are protected from a few things that are crucial to your employment.

You can take up to 12 weeks off with protection in keeping your job. In fact, time off using the FMLA means it cannot be used against you for disciplinary actions, promotions, or hiring.

The employers must continue your health insurance just as it was before. Of course, you will still have to make your payments, as if you were working.

If you are able to return to work before all of the FMLA time has been used, your job is protected and you must be able to return to the same one or one that is similar. This means that you do not have to deal with the stress of deciding between taking the time you need and losing your job.

And there are other ways it helps you. You can take FMLA leave as either a single block of time (for example, three weeks of leave for rehab and recovery) or in multiple, smaller blocks of time if medically necessary (for example, occasional absences) Part time absences are possible as well.

After Rehab

Once you have completed your treatment and are ready to return to work, some employers may require that you complete a Return-to-Work Agreement. Your employer will likely work with your treatment team in order to develop the agreement. This may outline requirements such as regular drug screens and continued treatment compliance once you return from your treatment program. Keep in mind that the employer cannot discriminate against you because of your addiction, and any outright discrimination against you following your treatment is against the law.

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FMLA and Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, you need every advantage possible and in many cases, the FMLA may be the solution in taking time off from work without repercussions. Here is more about FMLA and mental health so you have knowledge on what to do and how to take advantage of the benefits.

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Actwas passed in 1993 as a means for families to be able balance their family obligations along with work. How it works is that the law states that employers must allow employees to take time off or leave in order to care for recover from a serious illness or take care of family members. There are rules in place on how it works and who qualifies to use it.

Who Can Use FMLA?

One of the first qualifying components is an employer has to have at least 50 employees. Those with fewer than 50 workers do not have to comply with FMLA. There are exception such as government employees (they are always covered) and airline employees who work odd hours.

The second qualification for FMLA is the amount of hours you have worked. The minimum is 1250 hours in the course of 12 months prior to your leave. This is around 24 hours each week in a year. This means that even those who work part time and qualify under the other conditions have the benefits of the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is not just for full-time employees, which is extremely helpful for all workers regardless of their full or part-time status.

Last but not least, you have to work at a location that is within 75 miles from where your employer has 50 employees. What this means is that if you work remotely and it is 75 miles away from your employer, it does not matter if there are 50 employees working there or not.

The Family and Medical Leave Act and Mental Health

According to SHRM:

A mental health impairment is defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness as a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Such impairments often result in a diminished capacity to cope with the ordinary demands of life. That means employers must navigate both the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to help employees manage their mental health.

The good news is that some mental health issues are covered by the FMLA. The key is to show that it affects your ability to work, just like any other illness that is covered.

The first thing to do is to ensure that your employer is aware of your needs. An employer has to keep all of your information in confidentialityso you should be able to talk freely if you choose. While you are not required to share your diagnosis, it may be helpful to let them know what is going on so that they can help you with the Family Medical Leave Act so you can qualify.

Your employer has five days from your initial request to decide. If you are denied, the employer must provide at least one reason why. And keep in mind that they may require medical claim proof so that they can fill out their own paperwork. While your employer is allowed to ask about your time of absence and things like that, they cannot ask specific things and you do not have to share.

The good thing is that once you qualify, you can take up to 12 weeks off with protection in keeping your job. In fact, time off using the FMLA means it cannot be used against you for disciplinary actions, promotions, or hiring. Now there are certain exclusions such as if you have vacation time built up, you may have to use that before the FMLA kicks in.

The important thing is getting help for your mental health while not having to worry about your job while you’re recovering.

5 Things to Know About FMLA

Needing time to take care of yourself or others in medical need can be stressful. On top of health issues, you do not need the extra worry over your job and that is where the FMLA can help you. Here are five things you should know about the FMLA.

What is the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Actwas passed in 1993 as a means for families to be able balance their family obligations along with work. The law states that employers must allow employees to take time off or leave in order to care for recover from a serious illness or take care of family members.

Who Qualifies for the FMLA?

Who qualifies for the Family Medical Leave Act depends on three major components:

  1. Number of Employees. An employer has to have at least 50 employees. Those with fewer than 50 workers do not have to comply with FMLA. Yet, government agencies and elementary and secondary schools are covered by the FMLA, regardless of the number of employees. Also, there are special exceptions for flight crew employees and airline flight attendants due to their non-traditional hours of work.
  2. Hours Worked. The minimum is 1250 hours in the course of 12 months prior to your leave. This is roughly 24 hours each week in a year.
  3. Location of Work. You must work at a location that is within 75 miles from where your employer has 50 employees. What this means is that if you work remotely and it is 75 miles away from your employer, it does not matter if there are 50 employees working there or not.

What Does it Cover?

FMLA covers a variety of needs for work leave. Some include:

These are just a few examples. Each depends on your individual circumstances. The important thing is to communicate with your doctor and employer.

What Does It Include?

FMLA is unpaid leave but it has so many benefits when you need it.

You can take up to 12 weeks off with protection in keeping your job. In fact, time off using the FMLA means it cannot be used against you for disciplinary actions, promotions, or hiring.

The employers must continue your health insurance just as it was before. Of course, you will still have to make your payments, as if you were working.

Although FMLA is unpaid leave, for those who have vacation time, sick time, and personal time built up, they can use that time in combination with FMLA so that they still receive a paycheck. You must still follow the regular rules about submitting this time off and your employer can make requirements.

If you are able to return to work before all of the FMLA time has been used, your job is protected and you must be able to return to the same one or one that is similar. This helps relieve a lot of stress in worrying over losing a job or your job being given to someone else.

You can take FMLA leave as either a single block of time (for example, three weeks of leave for surgery and recovery) or in multiple, smaller blocks of time if medically necessary (for example, occasional absences due to a specific illness or condition like diabetes.) Part time absences are possible as well.

What is the Process?

The first thing to do is to ensure that your employer is aware of your needs. An employer has to keep all of your information in confidentiality so you should be able to talk freely if you choose. While you are not required to share your diagnosis, it may be helpful to let them know what is going on so that they can help you with the Family Medical Leave Act so you can qualify.

Your employer has five days from your initial request to decide. If you are denied, the employer must provide at least one reason why. And keep in mind that they may require medical claim proof so that they can fill out their own paperwork. While your employer is allowed to ask about your time of absence and things like that, they cannot ask specific things and you do not have to share.

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