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From sickness to vacations and from holidays to personal reasons, every working individual deserves a certain amount of leave. Taking leave is essential to promote good physical and mental health and improve people’s work-life balance and happier surroundings. Unlike any other country, the United States has taken a step toward creating awareness about medical leave, which every employee deserves. 

What is FMLA?

FMLA helps eligible people take unpaid but job-protected leaves for any family or medical reasons without worrying about it. According to Internal Revenue Code Section 45S, a tax credit is provided to employers accounted for under FMLA. Eligible employers may claim the credit, equal to a percentage of wages they pay qualifying employees while on family and medical leave. The credit is effective for wages paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. It allows up to 12 weeks of leave for the following reasons:

  • Serious health condition or family emergency
  • Prenatal Medical Care/Post-Delivery Recovery 
  • Time to bond with your newborn baby
  • Serious Injury of a family member who is serving or served in the armed forces

History of FMLA

In 1984, a national organization known as the Women’s Legal Defense Fund put together an initial draft of the law that allowed American workers to take unpaid leaves to care for family, babies, or themselves. Under the law, all worksites with at least 50 employees under 75 75-mile radius should comply with the FMLA. The draft later became the FMLA legislators who introduced a bill to Congress every year for the next nine years. It was passed by both houses in 1991, and in 1992, it was voted on both times by President George H.W. Bush. Congress passed the bill again in 1993, and newly elected President Bill Clinton signed the law.

Employee Rights Under FMLA

When we talk about the law that gives people all the required assistance regarding workplace-related issues, we also talk about the rights that come under the law. Employees hold  some of the rights under the FMLA Act:

  • An employee can take up to 26 weeks during 12 months, if necessary, to care for a spouse, child, or parent. Employees who need to take medical leave regarding their family or child can apply for the leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • The employee also has the right to receive all the benefits during the unpaid leave. Following the same example, the employee gets his salary credited on time without any respective deductions under the FMLA right. 
  • When the leave ends, the employee has the right to return to their job. They have the right to return to the same position they had before they left. Under FMLA employee rights, the employer must offer the same position to the employee when their leave ends. If the employee’s prior position is occupied, the employer has to provide the employee with the same position holding the same composition. Discussing the above example here, when the employee returns from their leave, there are two possibilities: either the employee returns to their prior position, and if the position gets filled due to workforce demand, the employer is obliged to compensate with the previous composition of the employee.

Addressing ADA FMLA Overlap

The Americans Disability Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities so that they can perform their jobs efficiently. FMLA and ADA- seemingly two different bodies of law often intersect, leaving employers confused. These two laws are important laws that offer support to employees dealing with any physical or mental health condition. The ADA and FMLA can intersect in certain situations. When the employee is covered under the ADA and FMLA, the employer must ensure that the employee receives both benefits, i.e., 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under the FMLA act and reasonable accommodation to perform function essentially under the ADA act. They often intersect due to their shared objective of protecting employees from discrimination or other health conditions. 

Overcoming the Employer FMLA Challenges

One of the aspects that poses a significant challenge for employers is recognizing a leave request. For instance, multiple absences by an employee who misses work due to an illness can qualify for leave under FMLA. To resolve this issue, employers should train their managers and supervisors on how to recognize FMLA requests. The training will help ensure that the process is carried out smoothly and that those responsible for implementing FMLA are up to date on the requirements of the law. 


The FMLA Act allows people to take leave without having to worry about their jobs. It helps them to function efficiently whether they are recovering or taking care of an injured family member, recovering from postpartum, or having time with their child. Few employers can say that they never had challenges with the leave of absence issue, but many in every sector of the American economy have. There are particular eligibility criteria that come under the FMLA act, and people eligible under the requirements can avail themselves of the benefits of the act and use their rights. 

Post Author: Admin

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