Alabama workers who need to take unpaid leave are protected by a federal law know as the The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  This law entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave (in most circumstances up to 12 weeks) for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

What may FMLA leave be taken for? 

Employees are entitled to the unpaid leave for a variety of health and family related circumstances.  Typically, it is available for those who are seriously ill or recovering from the birth of a child. It may also be used to care for a seriously ill member of the immediate family. Workers may also utilize the 12-week period to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child, or a new foster child.

How do you determine if you are eligible?

Eligibility notice.

When an employee requests FMLA leave or the employer acquires knowledge that an employee’s leave may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason, the employer must notify the employee of the employee’s eligibility to take FMLA leave within five business days, absent extenuating circumstances. The eligibility notice must state whether the employee is eligible for FMLA leave, and if the employee is not eligible, must state at least one reason why the employee is not eligible.

What if the employer violates the notice requirements?

Consequences of failing to provide notice. Failure to follow the notice requirements set forth in this section may constitute an interference with, restraint, or denial of the exercise of an employee’s FMLA rights. An employer may be liable for compensation and benefits lost by reason of the violation, for other actual monetary losses sustained as a direct result of the violation, and for appropriate equitable or other relief, including employment, reinstatement, promotion, or any other relief tailored to the harm suffered.

If you have been refused eligibility for FLMA leave by your employer or if you have questions whether it followed the FMLA’s requirements, please contact me at (205) 588-0699 or for a free consultation.

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