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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Guide

Posted by Eric Kingsley | May 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or
    foster care, and to bond with the newborn or newly-placed child;
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition, including
    incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care;
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of
    his or her job, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care; or
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a
    military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.


An eligible employee may also take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member.

An eligible employee is limited to a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave for any FMLA-qualifying reasons during the single 12-month period. In addition to providing eligible employees an entitlement to leave, the FMLA requires that employers maintain employees' health benefits during leave and restore employees to their same or an equivalent job after leave. The law sets requirements for notice, by both the employee and the employer, and provides employers with the right to require certification of the need for FMLA leave in certain circumstances. The law also protects employees from interference and retaliation for exercising or attempting to exercise their FMLA rights.


The FMLA applies to all public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools). FMLA also applies to private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year – including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is responsible for administering and enforcing the FMLA for most employees. The Wage and Hour Division is committed to strengthening compliance with the FMLA by providing assistance to employers and helping increase their knowledge of the law. In most instances, an employee also has the right to file a private law suit under the FMLA in any federal or state court of competent jurisdiction.

FMLA Guide

California employers and employees alike can now access a comprehensive resource guide to FMLA, published by the DOL. The Employer's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to provide essential information about the FMLA, including information about employers' obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering leave under the FMLA.

California Employment Lawyers

If you were denied your job back after taking leave, or were denied your right to family medical leave, you may have a case in California for violation of your right to FMLA leave. If you've experienced any of the actions above, take the first step to protecting yourself and stopping this hurtful and illegal behavior.  Take advantage of a free initial consultation to discuss your specific case by calling the toll free number (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us regarding your case.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

In practice since 1996, the firm's lawyer and co-founder, Eric B. Kingsley, has litigated complex cases and written numerous appeals in state and federal courts on behalf of the California law firm Kingsley & Kingsley, including More than 150 collective actions. Mr. Kingsley focuses his practice ...


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