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Employee rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Some Missouri workers are entitled to the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Below are some questions and answers about its eligibility criteria and how it applies.

Who are the covered employers?

To be required to provide its employees with FMLA coverage, a business must be:

-- a public agency, which includes federal, state and local governmental agencies, with no minimum number of employees;

-- a company in the private sector that has at least 50 employees working during 20 or more weeks in the present or preceding year. This also includes joint employers or successors in interest to covered employers;

-- private or public elementary or secondary schools, no matter how few employees work there.

Which employees are covered?

To enjoy the employee rights of the FMLA, an employee must:

-- be employed by a covered employer;

-- work at a site where the employer has at least 50 workers within 75 miles;

-- have been working for the employer for a minimum of 12 months;

-- have put in a minimum of 1,250 hours of duty for their employer during the 12-month period immediately before taking the leave. An important consideration is that those 12 months are not required to be consecutive, meaning seasonal workers may also be covered by the act.

What does FMLA leave entitle?

Qualified workers may use up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month time span for the following reasons:

-- in order to take care of a daughter, son, spouse or parent battling a serious health condition;

-- birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee in an adoption or foster care;

-- an employee's own serious medical condition that prevents him or her from carrying out the essential functions of his or her job;

-- for eligible exigencies stemming from a parent, child or spouse who is a member of the military on covered active duty or who is called to that status. Provisions also cover qualifying employees that take as many as 26 weeks of leave during a "single 12-month period" while caring for covered service members recovering from serious injuries or illnesses. This is applicable when the worker is the son, daughter, spouse, parent or next of kin of the enlisted member.

Other provisions and stipulations apply. An experienced employment rights attorney can provide more information.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act" Aug. 14, 2014

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