The Family & Medical Leave Act – Protect Your Family and Your Job

Cogburn Law
Madeleine Jones
May 24, 2013

The Family and Medical Leave Act or “FMLA” provides leave for workers whose personal or medical circumstances require that they take time off work. Congress intended “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families” by requiring employers to let employees “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.”


Who Is Eligible For FMLA Leave?


Generally, in order to be eligible for leave under the FMLA, an employee must meet the following criteria:

  • Worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to taking leave;
  • Worked for a public agency or a private employer with 50 or more employees;
  • Worked for the employer for 12 months; and
  • If possible, provide the employer 30 day notice of intent to take leave.


How Much Leave Can You Take? 


The FMLA guarantees eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 1-year period.  During the 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the employer must maintain the employee’s healthcare coverage. The 12 weeks of leave may be taken intermittently in some instances. 


What If Your Employer Denies Your FMLA Leave? 


The FMLA protects employees by providing two legal claims that can be brought against employers for violating the law: FMLA Interference and FMLA Retaliation. 

FMLA Interference occurs when an employer interferes with, restrains, or denies the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right provided by the FMLA.

FMLA Retaliation occurs when an employer discharges or discriminates against employees for exercising any right under the FMLA.


If you have been denied FMLA leave or suffered retaliation for exercising your rights under the FMLA, call Cogburn Law Offices. We can help.