The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law designed to protect the rights of employees when they need to take time off for certain family or medical reasons. For example, you can use FMLA leave after having a baby or when you need to take time off due to a serious health condition.
There are many myths about FMLA that persist. These common misconceptions can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities in situations where you could otherwise qualify for these benefits.
Myth 1: FMLA covers all employers
According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, working people have taken FMLA leave 463 million times to either care for themselves or their families. However, FMLA does apply to every employer. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may not need to provide FMLA leave.
Myth 2: FMLA guarantees paid leave
FMLA provides job protection but does not mandate paid time off. While some employers may offer paid leave, FMLA itself does not require them to do so. Employees should prepare themselves for unpaid leave when taking advantage of FMLA protections.
Myth 4: You can only use FMLA leave once
FMLA allows for intermittent leave or reduced work schedules in certain situations. This flexibility can prove helpful for employees dealing with chronic health conditions or other intermittent needs.
Myth 5: Employers cannot ask for medical documentation
Some believe that employers have no right to request medical documentation for FMLA leave. However, employers are within their rights to ask for certification to verify the need for leave.
Understanding the facts about FMLA is important for employees seeking to exercise their rights under this legislation. Take action if you believe that your employer wrongfully denied you benefits under FMLA.