Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the first federal law to require flexible work options in the private sector. The law, enacted in 1993, enables employees to balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take time off from work to care for their family members or themselves.

The FMLA provides up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid, job-protected leave in order to:

  • care for a newborn child, a newly adopted child, or a newly placed foster child;
  • care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition; or
  • seek medical treatment for or recover from the employee’s own serious health condition, including pregnancy.

To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees must work for private companies with 50 or more employees, or for a federal, state, or local governmental agency. (Governmental agencies do not have to meet the 50 employee test.) Employees seeking leave must also have worked for their employer for at least one year and for over 1250 hours during the last year.

Further Information

WF2010’s FMLA Comment Review Memoranda summarize the comments submitted in response to the Department of Labor’s Request for Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Each memorandum summarizes a particular topic area about which the DOL sought information (e.g., the definition of serious health condition, substitution of paid leave and medical determinations).

WF2010’s Digest of FMLA Comments provides a short summary of 565 of the over 15,000 comments submitted to the Department of Labor in response to the RFI.  The Digest of FMLA Comments will be posted shortly.

Additional documents prepared by Workplace Flexibility 2010: