Family & Medical Leave

Standing Up for Your Rights Under the FMLA


At some point in their careers, many employees will need to take extended leave as a new parent, to address a personal health concern, or that of a family member. Although this can be an undoubtedly stressful time, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees covered employees the right to take unpaid medical leave to address this need. Significantly, this Act also protects employees against discrimination by their employers for doing so. An employee is covered by the FMLA if the following conditions are met:


  • The employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius on the payroll for 20 work weeks during the current or preceding calendar year;
  • The employee has worked at least 12 months for the employer; and
  • The employee has worked at least 1250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the leave request.

Most federal and private sector employers must comply with the FMLA, which permits covered employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for family and medical reasons. Leave requests for the following reasons are expressly permitted under the FMLA:


  • The birth and care of a newborn child;
  • The adoption or foster care of a child;
  • To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • Medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition, including pregnancy, or disability; or
  • Qualifying situations caused by the employee’s spouse, child, or parent being on active duty or called to active duty in the National Guard or Reserves.

Additional FMLA Protections


Employees will not lose their employer-sponsored health insurance while on FMLA. In some situations, however, employees will be required to pay their share of health insurance premiums while on leave.


Generally, employees returning from FMLA leave must be given their original (or equivalent) job back. An equivalent job is one with substantially the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions as the job the employee occupied prior to taking leave. Your state may provide more protection than the FMLA.


Denied FMLA Protection?


An experienced lawyer can help you gather the necessary medical documents and information from your doctor to reverse the denial. We can also help you fight wrongful termination as a result of requesting FMLA leave.


At Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C., we have helped employees fight for their rights for more than 49 years. Please call our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 331-9260 to discuss your FMLA issue, or visit our Contact page.