When an employee or an employee’s family member suffers a severe medical condition, or when an employee is about to become a mother or a father, it should not ruin that employee’s career. To prevent that from occurring, Congress enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Those who work in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, including Philadelphia-area workers who qualify, have the right to leave under the law and have a right to be free from retaliation if they request or take the leave they are entitled to take.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania FMLA Lawyers
If you have been improperly denied leave or suffered retaliation for taking leave, including returning to a lesser position, you may have a claim against your employer. A FMLA lawyer from Console Mattiacci Law, LLC can help you obtain the recovery and relief you seek.
At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, we are experienced in representing employees on matters pertaining to the Family and Medical Leave Act in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and federal courts. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to schedule a consultation or contact us online.
Applicability of the FMLA
The Family and Medical Leave Act only applies to certain employers and certain employees. Determining whether the FMLA is applicable to your situation is always an important first step.
The employee requesting leave must have worked for the company for at least a year and have worked 1,250 hours in the past 12 months (an average of 24 hours per week over 52 weeks).The employer must have at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius of where the employee requesting leave works.
When an Employer is Required to Grant Leave
For qualified employees, a company must give leave for:
- The birth or adoption of a son or daughter;
- A serious health condition that renders the employee unable to work; or
- Care for a spouse, child, or parent suffering from a serious health condition.
For any of the above situations, the employer must give the employee at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave over a 12-month period.
A serious health condition can be any that requires an overnight stay at a hospital or continuing treatment. It must prevent the worker from being able to perform the functions of his or her job. For a family member that the worker is caring for, the condition must prevent the family member from being able to perform daily functions or attend school.
Leave for the birth or adoption of a child includes both maternity leave and paternity leave, and may include leave for complications from a pregnancy.
Notice for Leave
When the leave will be foreseeable, the employee must give 30 days notice. If the need arises from an emergency and notice is not possible, it must be given as soon as practical.
When an employee asks for leave, the employer should tell him or her whether or not she is qualified for FMLA leave. If leave is being counted against an employee’s FMLA leave time, the employer must inform him or her of that fact.
Under federal law, the leave is unpaid. However, if the employer has a paid leave policy, the employee may take advantage of that. During the leave, the employee must be able to keep all benefits that he or she has under a group health plan.
Once an employee returns from his or her leave, the employer must have either the same job, with the same pay and benefits available, or an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and terms of employment.
Retaliation for Taking FMLA Leave
For qualified employees for a qualifying condition, taking leave is a legal right. An employer cannot decide that it is a “bad time” for an employee to take leave and refuse it.
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker for taking leave or for requesting leave. Retaliation may include termination, demotion, passing over the employee for a promotion or harassment due to requested leave
New Jersey Family Leave Act
In addition to FMLA, employees in New Jersey may also take leave under the New Jersey Family Leave Act. The NJFLA applies to employees who work for any employer with 50 or more workers worldwide, who have worked for that employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,000 hours in the preceding 12 months.
The NJFLA does not give time off for an employee dealing with his or her own medical condition. It gives up to 12 weeks in a 24-month period to care for a family member with a health condition or to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.
FMLA leave does not count against NJFLA leave. For instance, an employee who took 12 weeks of FMLA leave for a medical condition may then also take 12 weeks of NJFLA leave to care for a child in the same time period.
Console Mattiacci Law, LLC ǀ Family and Medical Leave Act Lawyers
If you have been improperly denied family or medical leave or suffered retaliation for exercising your right to take leave, you may have a claim against your employer. Our Pennsylvania FMLA lawyers, Philadelphia FMLA lawyers and New Jersey FMLA lawyers represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We also represent clients in New York.
There are many deadlines pertaining to FMLA, so it is important to act quickly. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to schedule a consultation.