The federal Family Medical Leave Act assists workers who might need time off for health emergencies, either for themselves or to care for a family member. The law provides unpaid, job-protected leave for certain workers.
These include private employers that have at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius, those employed by elementary and secondary schools and government workers at the local, state and federal levels. There are specific guidelines about who is covered and how long an employee must work to be eligible.
As an HR professional, employees have asked to use paid, or unpaid, time off in lieu of FMLA. Managers have also asked not to designate short periods of time off as FMLA. Neither of these practices are allowed. “Employees cannot waive, nor may employers induce employees to waive their prospective rights under FMLA,” according to the act.