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Family and Medical Leave Act Law


Respect and protection of employee rights is one of the fundamental functions that an organization should aim to achieve. Primarily this is a function of the human resource and planning department, whereby they always have to advocate for good working conditions and equal treatment of all workers regardless of their social, political, health, and economic status. Different states in the U.S. have different rules of protecting their employees’ rights but the adoption of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) law by the government enhanced worker protection practices by organizations.

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Background information and history of FMLA

The U.S. congress accepted FMLA as a law in the year 1993 under leadership of President Bill Clinton. Primarily it is a labor law that gives employees opportunities of seeking leaves, which amount to a maximum of three weeks depending on employees’ needs and commitments. The law ensures that employers guarantee their employees job security while on leave. Provisions by this law allow individuals to seek leaves when they are sick, about to give birth, or in case they are required to give support to sick family members. Implementation of the law is primarily done by the employment standard administration department (wage and hour division), a section of the U.S. labor ministry (Williams, 2001, p. 3).

Before implementation of the law by the government, the majority of employees could lose their jobs although they had genuine reasons for not attending work. Majority of organizations rejected employee’s pleas for job leaves in case they had to attend to sick members of their families. In addition, due to long periods taken by mothers to recover after birth, majority of them could find organization’s administrations have replaced their positions because to them work must continue to ensure achievement of organizational goals. This resulted to reduced career prospects among many individuals, whereby majority of those affected were women. In addition to losing jobs, majority of caregivers endangered their lives, because, for them to secure their jobs they had to work as they recover or work while sick. Previously there were no law provisions for the sick hence; FMLA has helped to bridge the gap that previously existed (Amelia, 2006, Para 1-3).

In addition, this law guarantees individuals payment of their full benefits after leaves, hence giving families economic securities. Although organizations may not have employees demanding leaves, the law dictates that all employers must provide their employee’s notices providing guidelines on FMLA. The law strongly prohibits employer’s biased handling of employees seeking for leaves, hence guaranteeing employees protection in their working stations (Amelia, 2006, Para. 4).

Features of FMLA

Passing of the law primarily left the overall role of workers’ leaves on organizations’ human resource departments. All employers have to make critical considerations before granting any leaves to its workers; hence, depending on the seriousness of involved cases, organizations grant workers varying leave periods. Workers may apply for a leave in the following situations: new births, adoptions of new babies, to take care of ailing family members or incase employees themselves suffer from health complications hence, cannot work in that present situation. The law also dictates that only employees who have worked in an organization for a period of more than one year are eligible for such leaves. In addition, it is a must for an individual to have worked for a specific organization for more than 1,250 hours, within a period of one year. One thing all employees have to bear in mind is that, the law governs only organizations with more than 50 workers, although variations occur depending on the state. This law’s compensating scheme follows guidelines provided by FLSA, on how to handle workers compensations. For workers of educational bodies, rules of FMLA are a little bit different because of the nature of responsibilities associated with such organizations (Swider, 2000, Para.1-3).

On the other hand, the law gives no protection to the following situations namely: workers in organizations with less than 50 workers, workers in airline companies, workers who demand time to recover from short-term health problems, and workers who demand time off for them to attend medical routine checkups. The law only covers need of immediate family members, although expansion of the scope of the law extended favors to adult and adopted children. According to the law, “sicknesses” depends on the period and frequency of health problems, which in most cases take to be three days. The law requires employees to follow the stipulated rules in reporting sickness, whereby confirmation on reporting day is compulsory for all employees hence, importance of medical examination certificates (Hyman, 2008, p.1).

Benefits of FMLA

FMLA plays a very important role of giving individuals protection from work discriminations associated with seeking of leaves, in case of medical emergencies. It guarantees workers unpaid leaves, which in turn promote well being of all individuals in terms of working conditions and health environments. All organizations within the U.S. with more than fifty workers must follow guidelines spelt in the law, when dealing with workers’ absenteeism cases. This has helped to ensure organizations treat workers of both sexes equally. The rule directs all employers to sustain their workers’ health coverage plans regardless of the nature of health plans such employees have, hence continual support to employees in case of health complications. This law has really promoted well being of disabled employees, who previously were discriminated by organizations owing to their health conditions and complications (U.S. department of labor, 2008, p.1).

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In addition, beneficiaries of this law may be eligible to receive their UC-sponsored gains depending on benefits options taken by an individual. This gives workers an opportunity to renew their UC-sponsored coverage once they resume work, in case it expired when one was on leave. For states such as California, women organizations can guarantee women up to 4 months of pregnancy leaves in situations where applicants of the same have not fully utilized their 12-week leaves. On the other hand, this law provides the required flexibility in UC-transfers in that, in case individuals change their plan areas they can transfer their UC- sponsored schemes (University of California, 2004, PP. 2-3).

The law also grants individuals substitution rights, whereby individual organizations have to grant all employees right of substituting their paid leaves. This law gives individuals no boundaries for substituting paid leaves, but it prohibits substitution of sick leaves with other activities (University of Wisconsin system, 2007, Para. 1-9).

Areas of Business Responsibilities Regarding FMLA

To reduce suits associated with adoption of FMLA by organizations, all organizations are supposed to provide its employees with time-to-time updates on FMLA coverage. At all times business must inform their employees of cases where it is applicable to coin both the paid and unpaid leaves incase an employee seeks for both. Due to certification required to prove reasons for absence from work all employers must provide all workers with required documents for doctors or concerned parties to fill during the leave period. Employers should grant imminent leaves to employees in case of the following two factors namely: when employees have to attend to childbirth or adoption issues. Secondly, employers should grant workers such leaves in case of an employee or employees’ family members suffer some health complications, hence need for medical attention and care.

In addition, all employers must provide their employees health insurance at all times whether they are in job or on leave. On the other hand, all employers must give their employees all their gains when they resume work following rates specified in employment agreements. All this if not followed by employers, then there is a likelihood of many court suits because denial of employee rights breaks labor laws as provided by the U.S. labor ministry. At all times employers must provide their employees notifications primarily FMLA eligibility criteria, rights, and how they can enhance the leave scheme. The new FMLA law grants only employers’ health care giver rights of talking with concerned medics who provide medication to their employees, hence ensuring security and privacy of employees’ health information. This helps to minimize victimization of employees by their bosses. In addition, the law grants only concerned human resource personnel rights of clarifying employees’ medical conditions in case need arises for the same (Fleischer, 2008, Para. 1-7).

Future Policy Considerations for Human Resource Departments

The FMLA law is already operational hence; organizations have to structure their human resource departments to accommodate any changes, which may result from implementation of the law. Major problems faced by organizations are determining the accuracy of information provided by employees and seriousness of their medical conditions. Another challenge faced by organizations is adoption of methodologies, which accommodates both the law’s specifications with other duties of employers as concerns the whole leave scheme. The government has not incorporated this law to currently existing laws hence, making its overall implementation in organizations hard, due to conflicts between organizational and employees’ needs. Organizations have to structure their human resource departments in a way, which will ensure that impacts resulting from workers’ leaves have fewer effects on the running of organizations. Organizations should adopt measures that ensure correct calculation of coverage depending on leaves taken by employees. This will ensure organizations minimize losses resulting from suits and wrong calculations of coverage hence, promotion of both employee and employer needs.

Reinstatement of employees is another key issue affecting many organizations. The FMLA law dictates that organizations must provide its workers with notices in case reinstatement is not possible, whereby clearly explained reasons for the denial should accompany the notice. This one main challenge because in most cases such dismissals have many legal issues, which organizations must follow. This then calls for adjustments in organizations’ policies of dismissal and readmission to ensure all workers clearly know their boundaries in terms of reinstatement and dismissal (Seminar information service, 2009, Para. 1-6).


In conclusion, the FMLA law has promoted employees’ rights, hence victimization and unequal treatment of employees is slowly diminishing from organizations. In addition, to ensure sustainability of organizations and protection of employees’ rights adequately organizations should adopt measures, which will ensure organizations have proper tracking mechanisms for all intermittent leaves.

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Reference List

Amelia. (2006). History of FMLA. Labor law center. Web.

Fleischer, M. department of labor issues long awaited final FMLA regulations. Training Time. Web.

Hyman, J. (2008). Summary of new FMLA regulation: 10 key changes. Ohio employers lawblog. Web.

Seminar information service. (2009). FMLA compliance. Sis. Web.

Swider, D. L. (2000). An overview of the FMLA. All business. Web.

University of California. (2004). Family and medical leave: benefits checklist while on FMLA leave. Web.

University of Wisconsin system. (2007). Employee benefits: FMLA WFMLA. Human resources and workforce diversity. Web.

U.S. Department of Labor. (2008). 29 CFR 825.209 – maintenance of employee benefits. Web.

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Williams, A. H. (2001). FMLA leave: a walk through the legal labyrinth. Tennessee: M. Lee smith publishers.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 13). Family and Medical Leave Act Law. Retrieved from


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