The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that gives employees certain rights regarding emergency time off. If one of your employees is eligible under the FMLA, you are obligated by law to allow him or her up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of personal or family matters, while protecting his or her job status. However, there are certain requirements your business must meet in order to be bound by FMLA regulations.
The FMLA only requires you to allow an employee job-protected unpaid leave for certain emergencies, such as pregnancy or personal medical emergencies. An employee is also allowed time off if he or she needs to care for an immediate family member after an accident or illness, although only parents, spouses and children are considered immediate family.
When Does the FMLA Apply to My Business?
In order for the FMLA to apply to you, your business must meet these three basic requirements:
- You have 50 or more employees who work within 75 mile range. This includes part-time workers and people who are on leave.
- An employee must work for your business for at least 12 months to be eligible for FMLA protections.
- An employee must have worked 1,250 hours or more over the 12 months leading up to their requested leave.
If your business is located in New Jersey, there are state laws regarding family and medical leave that may also apply to you. The laws cover similar ground, but one major difference is that eligible employees only need to have worked 1,000 hours or more over a 12 month period in order to be guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical emergencies.
Are There Any Additional FMLA Regulations?
FMLA regulations in New Jersey include several unique provisions. For example, under federal law, an employee is allowed 24 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member who was injured in military service (as opposed to the usual 12 weeks). In addition, there are state laws that allow up to 20 days of time off for victims of domestic violence. New Jersey law also provides paid temporary disability leave, which includes pregnancy, to employees who meet all other requirements.
Even if your business does not meet the minimum requirements, any business owner is free to offer FMLA protections to his or her employees. Whatever you choose, it is a good idea to educate your supervisors and managers so that your workers are fully aware of their employee rights and protections.
Our business law attorneys have helped hundreds of New Jersey business owners, and can answer any questions you may have about FMLA regulations in a free consultation.