Based on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, all employees have legal protection if they need a period of extended absence from work due to medical or family reasons. If you are eligible for the FMLA, you are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave each year, during which you can attend to matters such as severe illness and the birth or adoption of a child.
New Jersey law has also implemented a similar direction; the New Jersey Family Leave Act applies in such situations. Under the New Jersey Family Leave Act, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of family leave in 24 months without losing employment. However, the following exceptions apply:
- The employer must have at least 50 employees or be a government entity of any size.
- You must have worked for the same empl0oyer for at least one year and not less than a thousand hours over the last 12 months.
- Take the leave of absence to take care of a child within a year of their birth or placement for foster care or adoption or care for a family member with a severe medical condition.
However, the New Jersey Family Leave Act does account for your medical condition. You can get additional leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
How to Apply for FMLA
To apply for FMLA, you must submit your family medical leave act request form 30 days before your leave’s start date. Your employer has the right to deny or postpone leave if you fail to give proper notice.
You may have to produce supporting paperwork for your request, such as medical certification to back your leave request due to severe medical conditions. You may also have to complete a fitness of duty evaluation before assuming your previous role when returning from leave.
What to Do If Your Employer Denies Your FMLA Request
While the FMLA protects your job, some employers try to retaliate against you when you exercise your rights per this law. Disputes may arise regarding your eligibility for FMLA. If you or your loved one gets into a conflict with your employer over FMLA or your employer terminates your employment when you take leave, you may want to consult with New Jersey employment law attorneys.
They can guide you on filing a legal claim against your employer and help you get compensation. You can especially benefit from the services of an employment attorney if your employer is against your request. Sometimes, your employer will retaliate and even demote you or terminate your employment. If you experience such a reaction to exercising your FMLA rights, you need an employment lawyer by your side. They can objectively assess the situation to determine if your employer broke any laws and help you pursue legal action.
In summary, the FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave every year if you meet the eligibility criteria. You have to submit your family medical leave act request form 30 days before the day your leave is to commence. If your employer unfairly denies your leave request, an employment attorney can help you pursue legal action to recover compensation.