Julie will be adopting a child in December and needs to take 10 weeks off to complete the process and bond with the baby.  Julie works full time and has worked for her current employer (which has...

Julie will be adopting a child in December and needs to take 10 weeks off to complete the process and bond with the baby.  Julie works full time and has worked for her current employer (which has over 75 employees at its one location) for four years.

Steven is having knee surgery next week and will be off for six weeks.  He is full time and has worked for his employer, which has almost 30 employees, for 7 months. 

  1. Provide a brief explanation of the FMLA law.
  2. Which of these individuals is eligible for Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave?  Provide two (2) supporting facts to justify your position.

Asked on by kanhimack

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lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave for up to twelve weeks in most instances and twenty-six weeks in a few instances, with a guarantee that one's job will be there when one returns from the leave and that healthcare benefits will remain in place during the leave. The triggering events that allow this are one's own serious illness or condition, one that interferes with one's ability to do the essential functions of the job, the birth or adoption of a child, or the serious illness or condition of an immediate family member, one that requires the assistance of the employee in question.  Additional requirements are that the employer has 50 or more employees and that the employee in question has worked at least 1250 hours and been employed for twelve months.  One aspect of the FMLA not addressed in the scenarios presented is whether or not the employees in question have exhausted any other leave to which they are entitled.  Under the FMLA, an employer is permitted to require that an employee exhaust all accrued leave, including sick, vacation, and personal days, before seeking a leave under the statute.   

Assuming that the employer does not require this exhaustion of leave or that Julie contemplates exhausting her leave first, she has an entitlement to an unpaid leave under the FMLA. She has a qualifying event, the adoption, and since she has worked full time for the past for four years, she meets the other requirements of the statute as well, twelve months and 1250 hours. 

Steven, on the other hand, while he has a qualifying event, has not worked for the employer for the requisite twelve months, having been employed for only seven months, nor could he have worked the requisite 1250 hours, assuming that he worked no overtime. Since both are necessary, we can only hope that he has some accrued leave that will enable him to recover. There is no federal legislation that requires an employer to provide for him otherwise, nor is there likely to be a state law that would require this.   

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