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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Department of Labor enforces the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for personal medical reasons or to care for family.

Learn about your rights under the FMLA and what to do if they are violated.

Benefits of the FMLA

The FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in 12 months for qualifying life events. Your employer must protect your job and access to your group health benefits while you are on leave.

Eligibility for the FMLA

Not all employees are eligible for the FMLA. You must work for a covered organization to take FMLA leave. The FMLA covers:

  • Private organizations with at least 50 employees
  • All government agencies and public and private elementary and secondary schools

Even if your employer is covered by FMLA rules, you are not automatically eligible for FMLA leave. All of these criteria must be met to qualify for FMLA leave:

  • You've worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
  • You've worked at least 1250 hours for your employer in the last 12 months.
  • Your employer has 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite.

Some states have family leave programs, with different eligibility rules. Find out if your state has a program and check its eligibility rules.

Report violations of the FMLA

The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division enforces FMLA leave. Contact them with questions or complaints about FMLA coverage.

Call the Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243), 8:00 am - 8:00 pm ET. Or contact the local office near you.

Violations of the FMLA include:

  • Denial or interference with the exercising of rights under the FMLA
  • Manipulation of an employee’s work hours to avoid responsibilities under the FMLA
  • Retaliation for using the FMLA or participating in activities pertaining to investigations related to the FMLA

Learn more about protections under the FMLA.

LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023


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