Need to Know: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)


Employees who become sick, have a baby or care for a family member with a medical condition shouldn’t have to worry about losing their jobs due to a necessary leave of absence. Thankfully, eligible employees’ jobs are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, allows eligible employees a leave of absence from their place of work in a variety of situations. Employers in Florida who have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks during the year must allow their eligible employees to utilize FMLA leave time under certain circumstances.

When You Need to Take Leave

The FMLA protects workers who need to take a medical-related leave of absence from their job for a number of different reasons. You may be recovering from a serious illness or injury. The FMLA also applies to a parent who needs time to bond with a new baby or adopted child. It’s not always the employee who has a medical condition or situation to deal with. Sometimes, the person may take a leave of absence to care for a sick family member. It’s also important to note that special circumstances apply to military members and their families. Victims of domestic violence also have the right to take leave without losing their jobs.

Determining Eligibility

Taking leave under the FMLA applies only to eligible employees. Determining eligibility involves both the size of the company and how long you’ve worked there. You need to have been working at your current company for at least one year prior. Also, you need to have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last year. Finally, the company needs to have at least 50 people employed within a 75 mile radius.

When to Contact an Employment Law Attorney

Under the FMLA, you are entitled to job-protected leave. In many cases, eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 workweeks of leave in a year. Eligible employees who need to care for a service member may take up to 26 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period. If your rights have been violated or your employer has retaliated against you in some way, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.

Legal Disclaimer: The above guidelines are educational in nature and do not create an attorney/client relationship. It is highly recommended that all Florida citizens with employment law issues contact an experienced local Florida employment law attorney to assist them with specific facts and circumstances regarding their labor and employment law matter. If you have been the victim of illegal activities at your workplace, then feel free to contact Attorney Rothman at Weldon & Rothman, PL toll free at (877) 730-5180 or via e-mail at

Bradley P. Rothman is an experienced Florida employment law attorney who has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star.  He is a principal member of Weldon & Rothman, PL – a Southwest Florida law firm with offices in Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota.


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