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St. Louis Missouri Labor & Employment Law Firm | Medical Benefits Attorney | Keys to the Family Medical Leave Act
Call Us Now : (314) 645-4100
Keys to the Family Medical Leave Act

Keys to the Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows the employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each 12 month period (after working 1250 hours) to take care of family members or themselves. The FMLA applies to public agencies and employers that have at least 50 employees who live within 75 miles of the company.

Employers must provide their workers with leave in order to:

  • Care for a newborn child
  • Care for a recently adopted child
  • Care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious medical condition
  • Care for your own serious personal health condition

However, ordinary illnesses do not qualify for FMLA leave. For example, the common cold, flu, headaches, stomachaches, and routine dental care are not covered illnesses. In certain circumstances substance abuse is a covered illness so long as the employee is seeking treatment.

What Sort of Notice Should I Give My Employer?

Employers can delay the start of FMLA leave for up to 30 days if the employee does not provide adequate advance notice. If the employee have a foreseeable event he or she knows may affect their ability to come work the employee should notify the employer right away. (‘Foreseeable events’ include scheduled surgery, adoption, or birth of a child.) If an employee notifies an employer, the employer must give an employee requesting FMLA written notice within two business days if that employee is not eligible. If the employer fails to respond to the employee’s FMLA request then an otherwise ineligible employee will become eligible to take leave.

Importantly, FMLA leave can be taken on an intermittent basis allowing employees to work on a less than full-time schedule. Employees are also entitled to other employment-related benefits while on FMLA leave, but you must continue to contribute your portion to the benefits program. When an employee returns after taking FMLA leave they have the right to return to the same or equivalent position, pay, and benefits as the had before taking leave.

An employer can ask the employee to provide a medical certification from a healthcare provider in the event of a serious health condition. FMLA leave may be delayed until the certification has been received, so it is important keep your employer informed of your progress.

While on FMLA the employer might ask the employee to report his or status and whether or not you intend to return to work. If the employee informs the employer that he or she does not intend to return to work, the employer may then terminate employment and any FMLA benefits. Additionally, before returning to work, your employer can ask you to provide a certification that you are fit to return to your job duties.

For Whom May I Request FMLA Leave?

You can request FMLA leave to care for the following family members with physical or mental health care conditions:

  1. Spouse - your husband or wife as defined under the laws of Missouri
  2. Parent - either your biological parent or the person who acted as your parent when you were a child
  3. Child - Son or daughter – either your biological, adopted, foster care, stepchild, legal ward, or any child for which you have assumed the parenting responsibilities. Children must be under the age of 18 unless there is a mental or physical handicap.

Your employer can ask you for documentation regarding your child, such as a birth certificate, medical documents, or other court documents.

Contact Attorney Jason M. Finkes

For a consultation with Attorney Jason M. Finkes in St. Louis, Missouri, please call (314) 645-4100, fill out our contact form, or email j This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it