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Family & Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) applies to all public agencies and private-sector employers who employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks.

Employees who are eligible for FMLA benefits must:

  • Work for a covered employer;
  • Have been an employee of the covered employer for a total of 12 months;
  • Have worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; and
  • Work at a location in the United States or in any United States territory where the employer employs at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

FMLA affects drug-free workplace programs, because a covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

A serious health condition includes:

  • Any period of incapacity or treatment connected to inpatient care such as substance abuse treatment, or
  • Continuing treatment by a health care provider, which includes any period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work) due to a health condition (including treatment thereof, or recovery from) lasting more than three consecutive days, and any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition.

More extensive information about FMLA is available in the elaws FMLA Advisor.