What is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The FMLA ensures that eligible employees receive a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per 12-month period. Private companies and public agencies, as well as elementary schools and secondary schools, are subject to the FMLA if they employ 50 or more employees, either on-site at the facility or within a 75-mile radius of the work site.
Employees should ideally give their employers as much notice of the leave period as possible, though the sudden nature of medical emergencies sometimes makes doing so impractical or impossible. Employers are required to provide written notice to employees that a leave period is being counted as FMLA or NJFLA leave.
There are several methods by which employers may calculate the 12-month period. Other than following the calendar year, employers may alternately determine the 12-month period based on a rolling period, the date on which the employee’s first period of leave begin, or the employee’s start date, the fiscal year, or other fixed periods.
It is important to emphasize that the FMLA and related NJFLA pertain to unpaid leave, and do not guarantee paid time off to address family or medical emergencies. However, both laws allow eligible employees to put paid leave which has accrued, such as vacation leave, toward the leave period under the NJFLA or FMLA.