Over the course of employment your staff will be faced with many issues that may result in them needing to take time away from work. While these breaks can be disruptive for a workplace and may result in loss of production many employers are required by federal law to provide leave for family and medical related issues. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FLMA) was designed to protect employees from termination for needing to care for themselves and their loved ones in times of need. The FMLA can be confusing for many employers to follow, so here are a few answers to the most common questions. Am I required to give FMLA leave? Generally employers with 50 or more employees must comply with the FMLA. All employees, whether part time or full time, and even temporary workers, are included in the count to reach 50. Also, employers must count all employees whose names appear are on the payroll (whether compensation is received or not) toward the 50 employees. Additionally, the following employers must comply regardless of number of employees: any public agency public and private elementary and secondary schools, the United States and its agencies members of Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) the federal Executive Branch (including the Postal Service, Postal Rate Commission) state government, regardless of the number of employees in any agency or department local government. Who is eligible for medical leave? Not all employees of a covered employer are eligible for FMLA leave. An eligible employee is one who: has been employed for at least 12 months by the employer has performed at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12 months is employed at a worksite where 50 or more employees are employed within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. All three requirements must be met for both private and public employees. For what reasons can an employee take FMLA leave? Eligible employees are entitled to take 12 weeks of FMLA under the following circumstances: for the birth of a son or daughter (including the child of a domestic partner or a same-sex domestic partner) and to care for the newborn child for the placement, with the employee, of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care to care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition because of a serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of his or her job for qualifying exigency event(s) while a covered service member is on active duty or call to active duty status. For what medical reasons can an employee take FMLA leave? An eligible employee is entitled to take FMLA leave for: his or her own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent. The employee’s serious health condition must render the employee unable to perform his or her position. This requirement is met when the employee’s health care provider indicates that the employee is unable to work at all or is unable to perform any one of the essential functions of his or her position. The FMLA does not list conditions which satisfy the serious health condition definition. Rather, the FMLA regulations broadly define “serious health condition” as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition which involves: inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider. While not a full list of serious health conditions examples does not exist, some common examples include: heart attack stroke epilepsy cancer diabetes migraines head trauma coma flu arthritis depression substance abuse anxiety concussion asthma injuries suffered on the job recovery from surgery multiple sclerosis. Looking for more information? Click here for more information on ADA & FMLA.