The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is designed to provide certain employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year. While some people may be aware of their eligibility, there is still the important question of how do I apply for family medical leave act. Read on to find out.
If you believe your employer is in breach of your FMLA rights, consult one of the experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys at Sleemi Law.
Eligibility for FMLA
Generally, you are a suitable candidate for FMLA if you work in a public agency, a company with 50 or more employees, or a private elementary or secondary school. To qualify, you must have worked with your employer for at least 12 months, 1,250 hours in the previous year, and at least 50 percent of your scheduled time. You must also miss work on three consecutive days for one of the following reasons:
- To spend time with a newborn or newly-adopted child.
- Due to a serious health condition
- For a new foster care placement
- To care for an immediate family member like a spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition.
An FMLA leave is unpaid, but it should not affect your employment status when you resume work. If it does, you could take legal action against your employer.
Applying for FMLA
Once you determine that you are eligible for an FMLA leave, you should present an FMLA Medical Certification Form to your medical provider to ensure that your or your family members’ health condition is valid. This filled form must be returned within 15 calendar days of receiving it. You must then submit an FMLA Notification Form to your employer within two days of requesting leave.
If the leave is foreseeable, your employer will expect a 30-day advance notice before you request leave. Your application could be denied if it doesn’t meet this requirement.
Advanced Notice and Medical Certification
As already mentioned, you may be required to fill out or present some documents to your employer when applying for FMLA leave. You may also be required to produce medical certification and an advanced leave notice as supporting paperwork for your claim. At the end of your absence, your employer may require you to submit a fitness for duty evaluation.
Even though you are eligible for FMLA leave, it does not automatically mean that your application will be accepted. It could be denied on the following grounds:
- Your leave is considered foreseeable, and you didn’t provide your employer with a 30-day notice before presenting your application.
- You are unable to present medical certification to support your claim that either you or a close family member has a serious health condition.
- The employer requests a second or third opinion, and it doesn’t confirm your medical claim.
If you believe your employer has denied your application on unfair grounds, you can take legal action.
Talk to a New Jersey Employment Law Attorney
Now that you know the answer to ‘how do I apply for family medical leave act’, you can begin working on your application. Remember that if your employer fails to comply with FMLA requirements, it may constitute a violation of your employee rights. Contact the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi at (973) 453-4060 to discuss your situation with one of our top New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys.