Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

In theory, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that recognizes an employee’s need for unforeseen leave while minimizing the costs and efforts of the employer. It sounds simple enough to say that an employee can receive up to 12 weeks (or, up to 26 weeks where applicable) of unpaid leave a year for certain reasons and can then return to work with the same pay and benefits.

However, as HR administrators know all too well, the devil is in the details. The FMLA is full of technicalities and details, and if you aren't familiar with those details, your company could be penalized for denying leave to employees who qualify for it. In addition, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) regulations on the FMLA are voluminous.

The information below will provide an overview of the basic principles and provisions of the Act and its regulations.