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Can your employee take FMLA leave?

As an employer in Miami, you depend on your workers to succeed in your industry. When an employee asks for extended time off, it may cause difficulties for your company. However, there are many circumstances that may legally require you to honor this type of request.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if there are at least 50 people who have been employed by you in the past 20 or more work weeks, the Family and Medical Leave Act may apply to your company. A qualifying employee must have worked for you a total of at least 12 months, with a minimum of 1,250 hours occurring in the 12 months immediately preceding the request.

If your employee is requesting the leave because of a serious health condition, you have the right to expect a medical certification from a health care provider verifying the condition. A qualifying medical issue may include pregnancy, a period of incapacitation of three consecutive days or more, ongoing medical treatment or overnight hospital stays.

Your employee may not necessarily request to take the leave consecutively. For example, he or she may need a lighter schedule that allows caregiving duties to be fulfilled, or the time off may be needed to attend frequent doctor visits or receive medical treatments. While these are within an employee’s rights, you also have the right to expect that the employee will attempt to avoid affecting business operations with the absences.

If you must find someone to fill in for the employee for an extended block of FMLA leave, the law allows you to reinstate the employee within a different but equivalent job. This includes the same or nearly identical level of skill and authority, pay, schedule and duties. Your employee should also be given the same benefits he or she was entitled to before the leave began.

While this may give you a basic understanding of FMLA, there are many caveats and exceptions that may apply to your employee’s specific situation. Therefore, this information should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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