By Steve Kania
Life is full of surprises. Some of them are joyful (birth of a child), others are dreadful (a serious illness).
Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives us a way to help balance these life altering events with work. As you could imagine, though, these delicate situations can get tricky between employer and employee, so as an advisor to business owners, accountants should be up to date on how the FMLA works. The FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees and in addition to unpaid, job protected leave, the law also grants employees continuation of existing health benefits while they are on qualified leave.
Accountants and employers should be aware that the FMLA gives eligible employees who work for a covered employer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the following qualified reasons:
• To care for a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster child.
• To care for a child, spouse, or parent with a “serious health condition”.
• For their own serious health condition that makes it impossible for them to continue working.
• 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
• Up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
Finally, accountants should be sure to understand and communicate the notice requirements under the law.