FMLA & Your Rights
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
- 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
- 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.