No one in Tennessee anticipates being struck with a serious illness or having a loved one experience one. When this happens, a worker may need to take an extended leave from work. If they are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, they may be able to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave without having to fear losing their job or being demoted.
In general, to take leave under FMLA, a person needs to work for a covered employer. If your employer is a private entity with 50 or more workers, that employer is covered by FMLA and must follow its rules. Government agencies and primary and secondary schools are covered by FMLA, even if they do not have 50 or more workers.
However, working for a covered employer doesn't automatically mean you can take FMLA leave. First, a person must work for the covered employer for a minimum of 12 months, although these 12 months need not be consecutive. However, any breaks in service with an employer cannot span more than seven years for a person to meet the 12-month requirement. In addition, a person must have put in at least 1,250 hours of work with the covered employer within the 12 months before taking FMLA leave. Finally, a person must work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the location where the person requesting FMLA leave works.
These are not the only requirements for a worker to take FMLA leave. They must do so for a qualifying reason, such as a serious health condition or expanding their family through birth or adoption. In the end, a worker who is wondering whether they can take FMLA leave may want to discuss the matter with a professional. Employment law attorneys may be able to offer further insight into FMLA rules and regulations that could help a worker who is deciding whether to pursue FMLA leave or who believes their rights under the FMLA have been violated.