Saturday, November 11, 2006

FMLA and Adoption - FYI

EMPLOYER COVERAGE
FMLA applies to all:
---public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local education agencies (schools), and
---private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year and who are engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce — including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:
--work for a covered employer;
--have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months;
--have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; and
--work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

LEAVE ENTITLEMENT
A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
--for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
--for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
--to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
--to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Spouses employed by the same employer are jointly entitled to a combined total of 12 work-weeks of family leave for the birth and care of the newborn child, for placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and to care for a parent who has a serious health condition.


Leave for birth and care, or placement for adoption or foster care must conclude within 12 months of the birth or placement. (I am thinking this is in reference to people who wish to take their leave in blocks of time)


Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently — which means taking leave in blocks of time, or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule.
If FMLA leave is for birth and care or placement for adoption or foster care, use of intermittent leave is subject to the employer's approval.


Also, subject to certain conditions, employees or employers may choose to use accrued paid leave (such as sick or vacation leave) to cover some or all of the FMLA leave.

MAINTENANCE OF HEALTH BENEFITS
A covered employer is required to maintain group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave whenever such insurance was provided before the leave was taken and on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. If applicable, arrangements will need to be made for employees to pay their share of health insurance premiums while on leave.

JOB RESTORATION
Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to the employee's original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. In addition, an employee's use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that the employee earned or was entitled to before using FMLA leave, nor be counted against the employee under a "no fault" attendance policy.


Under specified and limited circumstances where restoration to employment will cause substantial and grievous economic injury to its operations, an employer may refuse to reinstate certain highly-paid "key" employees after using FMLA leave during which health coverage was maintained. In order to do so, the employer must:
--notify the employee of his/her status as a "key" employee in response to the employee's notice of intent to take FMLA leave;
--notify the employee as soon as the employer decides it will deny job restoration, and explain the reasons for this decision;
--offer the employee a reasonable opportunity to return to work from FMLA leave after giving this notice; and
--make a final determination as to whether reinstatement will be denied at the end of the leave period if the employee then requests restoration.

A "key" employee is a salaried "eligible" employee who is among the highest paid ten percent of employees within 75 miles of the work site.

NOTICE AND CERTIFICATION
Employees seeking to use FMLA leave are required to provide 30-day advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable and such notice is practicable.

UNLAWFUL ACTS
It is unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided by FMLA. It is also unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice, or because of involvement in any proceeding, related to FMLA.

OTHER PROVISIONS
Special rules apply to employees of local education agencies. Generally, these rules provide for FMLA leave to be taken in blocks of time when intermittent leave is needed or the leave is required near the end of a school term.

---Taken from the US Department of Labor Web Site

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