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Definition of Family And Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1993. It is a law that gives certain employees who need to care for another family member or child or who have serious health problems a maximum of up to 12 weeks a year of job-protected, unpaid leave. This law also ensures continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same conditions and terms as if an employee had not taken leave.

This 12 workweeks in a 12-month period of job-protected, unpaid leave is for employees who have qualified medical and family reasons. Qualified medical and family reasons include:

  • To care for the employee's child, parent or spouse who is afflicted with a serious health condition
  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth
  • A serious health condition that renders the employee unable to do the essential functions of his or her job
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement
  • Any qualifying exigency that arises out of the fact that the employee's daughter, son, parent or spouse is a covered military member on "covered active dutyor
  • An eligible employee is entitled to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period in order to care for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury if the eligible employee is the servicemember's parent, spouse, daughter, son or next of kin (military caregiver leave). The law is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.
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