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What Florida Employers Need to Know About the Florida Medical Leave Act (FMLA)


The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in February of 1993. The legislation was designed to provide qualifying employees with unpaid, job-protected leave in cases where certain emergency circumstances have arisen. The FMLA puts important obligations on many South Florida employers. Indeed, the failure to comply with the requirements of this law could result in a company facing a major lawsuit and even a fine from the Department of Labor (DOL). In this post, our experienced West Palm Beach employment law attorneys discuss some of the basic things that employers need to know about the Family Medical Leave Act.

The FMLA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Employers Does the FMLA Apply to?  

The FMLA applies to many different public employers, organizations and agencies, as well as all private employers that have 50 or more employees. To count as an employee for the purposes of the act, a worker must be employed for at least 20 weeks during the year.

Which Employees Qualify for FMLA protections? 

To qualify for FMLA legal protections, an employee must first work for an employer that is covered under the act. Next, the employee must meet the individual qualifications standards. Specifically, this means that the worker must have been employed at their current firm for at least 12 months and that they must have worked for at least 1,250 hours during that 12 month period. 

What is a Qualifying Emergency?  

Many different types of family and medical emergencies qualify for leave under the law. Most notably, the following emergencies will allow covered employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave:

  • Being diagnosed with a serious medical condition;
  • Needing to take care of an immediate family member who was diagnosed with a serious medical condition;
  • The birth (or care) of their newborn child;
  • The adoption or fostering of a child; and
  • An emergency that arises out of active duty military service of the employee or an immediate family member.

What Happens if an Employer Violates the FMLA?

There can be serious consequences for employers that violate their legal obligations under the FMLA. In some situations, wronged employees have the ability to enforce legal compliance with the act. They may also be able to seek compensation for wrongful termination or any other adverse action that was taken against them in relation to the violation. This could potentially include getting their job back if they were removed, and could also result in the award of substantial financial damages in the form of lost wages. Employers need to protect themselves and their interests by ensuring compliance with the FMLA.

Get Legal Assistance Now  

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we have extensive experience handling Florida employment law claims. If you have any questions about the FMLA or any other employment law issues, please contact our team today to set up a free review of your case. We have offices in West Palm Beach, Wellington and Miami and represent clients throughout South Florida, including in Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and Miramar.



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