The North Carolina chapter of Hope for HS hosted Hannah Demeritt during our July 2020 virtual meeting.  Hannah is a supervising attorney at the Duke Law School Health Justice Clinic, where she has worked for 9 years.

The Health Justice Clinic represents low-income clients who have health-related legal needs, including disability benefits, Medicaid eligibility and services, discrimination, FMLA, breaches of confidentiality, and end-of-life planning and permanency-planning for minor children.

Hannah’s presentation was informative for both patients and physicians in attendance. After the presentation, we had requests for a summary document for those unable to attend, which we hope to do here! Download her slides, HS FMLA.

FMLA is a federal law entitles qualified employees to:

  • up to 12 weeks, during 12-month period, of
    • unpaid, job-protected leave, with continued health benefits for serious health conditions or caring for others

FMLA is for employees who:

  • works for an employer with 50 employees within 75 miles
  • has worked 12 months and 1250 hours in last twelve months at the same employer
    • 12 months of working for employer don’t have to be consecutive, unless break in employment was more than 7 years,

FMLA can be:

  • Continuous, intermittent, or reduced hours
  • For yourself or to care for an immediate family member
  • used for a new baby, adoption, or foster child

FMLA cautions:

  • It is unpaid leave
  • Employer can require PTO count as FMLA days:
    • Example: Jane has 4 weeks of unused sick and vacation leave and asks for 12 weeks of FMLA. Employer can say that she gets 12, not 16, weeks off total

FMLA positives

  • Flexible – can be used for flare-ups or even doctor’s appointments
  • You keep your health insurance
  • On return, job must be nearly identical

FMLA Red Flags

Your employer should not

  • Have your direct supervisor involved in the FMLA process
  • Refuse to authorize if you are eligible
  • Discourage you from using leave
  • Manipulate your hours to impact your eligibility
  • Use request/leave as negative factor in employment actions

Need FMLA Help: Filing a Complaint with the Secretary of Labor

  • A complaint may be filed in person, by mail or by telephone with the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor. A complaint may be filed at any local office of the Wage and Hour Division.
  • The complaint should be filed within a reasonable time of when the employee discovers that his or her FMLA rights have been violated.