Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act , FMLA requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the employee or a spouse, child or parent. In many instances paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave. A final rule effective on January 16, 2009, updates the FMLA regulations to implement new military family leave entitlements enacted under the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    • 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;
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

On December 21, 2009, the President signed into law the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This amendment to the FMLA establishes a special hours of service eligibility requirement for airline flight attendants and flight crew members. Airline flight attendants and flight crew members continue to be subject to the FMLA’s other eligibility requirements. The amendment provides that an airline flight attendant or flight crew member meets the hours of service requirement if, during the previous 12-month period, he or she (1) has worked or been paid for not less than 60 percent of the applicable total monthly guarantee (or its equivalent), and (2) has worked or been paid for not less than 504 hours, not including personal commute time, or time spent on vacation, medical, or sick leave.