The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with unpaid time off from work to tend to personal or family medical needs. Employers with 50 or more employees that have worked for 20 or more consecutive weeks in the current or previous year are mandated to provide FMLA to eligible employees. Fortunately, even part-time workers are entitled to receive FMLA if they meet the established requirements.
Employers mandated to provide FMLA benefits to their employees face legal consequences for non-compliance. It is the employer’s responsibility to know and understand the law and provide unpaid leave to eligible employees, whether they are full-time or part-time employees. Eligible employees include:
Part-time employees that worked for 12 months and 1,250 hours within a 12-month period are eligible for FMLA. A worker that has worked for this amount of time works an average of 24 hours per week, which is considered part-time. So long as these requirements are met, employers mandated to provide FMLA benefits must provide them to part-time workers.
Employers begin to count the length of time an employee has worked for them on the day that the employee’s leave begins. This is an important distinction for employers to realize. An employee may request leave before the time requirement is met, but they are still eligible for leave if the minimum time requirements are met at the time leave begins. During the employee’s leave, employers must continue health benefits for the employee and protect their job in their absence. Upon return to work, the employee must be returned to their previous position, or be reinstated to a comparable position with similar work, hours, pay, and benefits.
In some cases, an employer may work with a part-time employee to satisfy their minimum work hours to qualify for FMLA benefits. Increasing part-time hours leading up to the requested leave can help an employee qualify for benefits. Part-time employees can also postpone their FMLA request by rescheduling surgery or a medical procedure until the time requirement has been satisfied.
An employer is responsible for understanding the law and how it affects their employees. Employers that are non-compliant with the FMLA laws can be subject to lawsuits. Eligible employees that have been denied FMLA benefits should seek the counsel and representation of an experienced employment lawyer.
If you are an eligible employee that has been denied FMLA benefits, contact the Long Branch employment lawyers at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. today. We will fight to obtain the justice you deserve. Call us at 732-493-9400 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Asbury Park, Neptune, Long Branch, Keansburg, Ocean Township, Eatontown, Red Bank, Middletown, Colts Neck, Deal, Freehold, Holmdel, Jackson, Little Silver, Marlboro, and Rumson.