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Morristown, NJ Family & Medical Leave Act Attorneys | Northern New Jersey Employment Lawyers

What are your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

If you find yourself in a situation that will require you to take time off from your job because of health or family commitments, your employer may offer short- or long-term disability benefits that will enable you to take a leave with pay. If your employer does not offer those benefits, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law designed to help employees when family needs or serious medical conditions require a prolonged absence, may allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for:

  • The birth and care of a newborn
  • Adopting or accepting a child into your foster care
  • Taking care of an immediate family member with a serious medical problem
  • Your own serious health condition

Getting time off under FMLA is not automatic. If your employer has fewer than 50 employees at your facility and any others within a 75-mile radius of your workplace, that employer is not covered by FMLA. If you have not worked for your employer for at least 12 months and for a minimum of 1,250 hours in the year before taking a leave, you are not eligible.

If you and your employer meet the criteria, you have the right to request time off under the FMLA. Your employer cannot retaliate against you by denying your leave or otherwise interfering with your leave. The law is extremely complex and includes precise definitions of what, for instance, constitutes a serious medical condition. If you are considering a leave or about to return to work, talking to an attorney with experience in FMLA may ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the time you need to take care of a new child, an ailing family member or your own health needs.

Your requirements as an employee

If you are planning to take a leave or are currently on leave, you are required to provide your employer with documentation. In cases of medically-based leaves, this generally means a letter from your doctor. Your employers can’t ask to see your medical records, but can require one or more additional medical opinions. If your leave is “foreseeable,” you must give your employer a minimum of 30 days notice. Foreseeable leave usually includes birth or planned surgery. In cases of emergency leave, you have 15 days to provide your employer with medical verification. Your employer is also allowed to request updates or medical reviews during your absence.

Your employer’s responsibilities

If your employer is covered by FMLA and you are eligible and have complied with your responsibilities, your employer is required to grant you up to 12 weeks of leave and, if you have employer-sponsored health insurance, must continue providing you with coverage. Upon your return, you employer must allow you to return to your original job or a job with equivalent terms and conditions, pay and benefits.

If you are facing retaliation…

Employees are protected from retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act. You cannot be fired for taking or requesting leave. Your employer cannot interfere by demanding notice beyond what is specifically required. And upon your return to work, your employer is required to reinstate you. You also have the right to sue your employer within two years (up to three years in certain cases) if your employer violates the law under FMLA.

FMLA solutions for people throughout Northern New Jersey

At Limitone & Hillenbrand, we offer pragmatic, strategic legal guidance and representation in FMLA matters. We invite you to contact us online or call our office at 973-539-6122 to schedule a confidential consultation.