Your business is only as profitable as your employees make it. You probably put a lot of effort into finding the best possible staff members for your team. Skilled, reliable and dedicated workers can help turn a company into a roaring success. For your company to operate smoothly and profitably, you need to be able to count on your workers showing up for their jobs.
Sadly, even the best employee can find themselves in a situation where they can’t work for a while. Sometimes, these workers can request unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In such a situation, you may have to give them up to 12 or possibly even 26 weeks of unpaid leave while also allowing them to return to the same position and compensation they had before their absence. Such accommodations can require temporary hiring or other expenses for a company.
When does your company have to approve FMLA leave requests?
Your company has to be a certain size
In order for FMLA rules to apply to your company, you typically need to have at least 50 workers for at least 20 weeks prior to the request.
The worker who requests believe will typically need to have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months for your company as well in order for them to have the right to request unpaid leave under the FMLA.
The circumstances leading to the request must meet certain standards
Workers can’t just request FMLA leave for any reason. There are specific scenarios in which someone qualifies. When a person has a medical issue that will keep them from working temporarily, they can typically invoke the FMLA if their employer’s company and their work history qualify them.
Workers can also ask for leave to provide care for their spouse, child or parent with a medical issue. Finally, FMLA leave can also help new parents after a birth, adoption or foster placement. In situations involving care for a family member, if that family member is a qualifying military service member, the total leave might increase from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
Determining if your company has an obligation to approve FMLA leave in a certain circumstance can help you avoid accusations of employment law violations while still protecting your company’s profit margins and daily operations.