Workers in the United States enjoy the benefits provided to them by a number of state and federal laws aimed at ensuring that employers treat employees fairly and that the workplace is free of discrimination and other unwanted conduct. One (relatively) recent addition to the benefits many employees have is the right to take unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, enacted in 1993. Among the qualification requirements for taking FMLA leave is that an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 1250 hours during the last year. If you are hoping to use FMLA leave, one question you may have when considering eligibility is “ Does the time I take off for vacation, sick leave, or PTO, count toward the 1250 hours needed to qualify for FMLA leave ? ”
FMLA leave allows an eligible employee who is working for a covered employer to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, but job-protected, leave for specific reasons, including:
- ·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;
Known as “military caregiver leave”, FMLA leave may extend to 26 weeks if used 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.
Among the eligibility criteria for FMLA leave is the requirement that you worked at least 1250 hours for your employer within the last 12 months. The hours worked do not have to consecutive or continuous; however, they do have to be actual hours worked. Hours accrued for paid or unpaid leave, even hours counted as FMLA leave, do not count toward the requirement 1250 hours.
If you are uncertain whether or not you meet all the requirements for FMLA leave, try speaking to your employer first. If you believe you qualify, however you employer will not approve the leave it may be time to consult with a Florida employment law attorney. Contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.