Many Florida residents who need to take time off because of a family or personal medical emergency may find themselves worried about their jobs. You may be among the numerous individuals who think twice before taking time off of work because you do not want to face negative repercussions from your employer. Certainly, there are times when your employer may have reason to discipline a worker for missing their shift or duties, but you may have legal protections for taking leave.
In particular, the Family and Medical Leave Act could provide you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you qualify and if your employer is obligated to adhere to this law. Because many nuances exist when it comes to whether FMLA leave could apply, it is essential that you understand your rights.
What does the law say about employers and workers?
For a private company to have an obligation to comply with the FMLA, the company must have at least 50 employees who work at least 20 work-weeks during the calendar year. If the employer is a government agency or public or private elementary or secondary school, the FMLA applies no matter how many employees those establishments have throughout the year.
Even if an employer is required to adhere to the FMLA, not all employees qualify. In order to qualify, you would need to have worked for your employer for a minimum of 12 months and have accumulated at least 1250 hours on the job in those 12 months.
What does the law say about the circumstances?
Though a person may qualify in terms of the length of time working at the company and hours worked and even though an employer may have an obligation to meet the FMLA terms, the workers’ circumstances must also meet the stipulations of the law. For example, your situation must fit into one of the following categories:
- You are facing a serious health issue that affects you personally.
- A serious health issue affecting your parent, spouse or child needs your attention.
- You have welcomed a new child into your family either through birth, adoption or fostering.
- Your child, spouse or parent is in the military, and their needs meet the stipulations for your taking leave.
If you believe that you qualify for leave under the FMLA but your employer denies your leave or retaliates against you for taking it, you may need to protect your legal rights. This could mean learning more on your eligibility for leave to ensure that you qualify and to ensure that your employer must comply with the law. It could also mean gaining reliable information on ways to fight back against retaliation or violations.