Skip to Main Content

Who Is Covered by The Family and Medical Leave Act?

FMLA Eligibility

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows certain employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year without the risk of losing their jobs. It also mandates their employers to reinstate them to the same position after the leave and maintain their health benefits during it. Essentially, the FMLA is designed to help workers balance their family responsibilities and work life.

In this post, we answer a fundamental question; who is covered by the family and medical leave act? If you have concerns about how your employer is handling your leave, consult the top New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys at the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi.


Eligible Employers and Employees

The FMLA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, with the Office of Personnel Management administering it for most federal employees. While all public agencies and local employers must comply with FMLA rules, only employers who reach the threshold must comply. This includes private employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or previous year.

Your employer being covered by FMLA does not automatically make you eligible for time off under the act. Employees must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Have worked for their employer for at least 12 months
  • Have worked for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months
  • Have a valid reason for requesting the leave

Eligible employees can take time out of their FMLA leave due to pregnancy and any related complications. There are also military family leave provisions that offer protections specific to military families.


Covered Family Members

Under the FMLA rules and regulations, covered family members include your spouse, daughter, son, or parent. ‘Spouse’ is used to refer to a husband or wife, including one in a same-sex marriage, while ‘son or daughter’ means a biological, foster, or adopted child. It could also refer to a stepchild, legal ward, a child for whom you stand in loco parentis, or one who is over 18 and incapable of self-care.

A ‘parent’ on the other hand, could be biological, foster, step, adoptive, or one who stood in loco parentis for you as a minor.


Family Members Not Covered Under FMLA

The FMLA regulation §825.122 spells out the family members who may be covered by FMLA. Those not covered include grandparents, siblings, and extended relatives unless they stood ‘in-loco parentis’ to the covered employee when they were a minor. Essentially, ‘in loco parentis’ means that they provided day-to-day care and financial support.

As mentioned, you can also take leave under the FMLA to care for a covered veteran or service member. This applies if you are their son, daughter, parent, spouse, or next of kin.


Talk to Our New Jersey Employment Attorneys

Who is covered by the family and medical leave act? This question can be answered in three parts; who your employer is, your eligibility as an employee, and the reason for the leave. If your employer is covered, you are eligible, and your reason for requesting the leave is provided for in the FMLA, the program covers you.

Noncompliance with FMLA requirements by your employer may constitute a violation of your rights. If you were wrongfully terminated, punished, or denied leave, contact the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi at (973) 453-4060 to speak to one of our New Jersey Employment Attorneys.