Avoid a La
Get to know the
by John D. Sours
The most publicized aspects of FMLA permit certain employees, male or female, to take
unpaid time off for childbirth or serious illness. The extent of unpaid time off permitted
is a maximum of twelve weeks during any twelve-month period. Other employees eligible for
up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during a twelve-month period include those who:
To be eligible, an employee must have been on the payroll at least one year and must
have worked at least 1,250 hours during the preceding twelve months. During the leave
period, employees need not be paid but are entitled to health care and other benefits.
Spouses who work for the same employer may receive a total of twelve weeks leave for
the birth or adoption of a child. Upon termination of the leave, employees are generally
entitled to reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position.
The regulations provide for certain important exceptions which may apply to many ISOs in
the Transaction Processing Industry. For example, in many industries, independent contractors
have no obligation to reinstate employees who have been laid off or they were originally hired
only for a specific term or to perform work on a particular project, and the specific term or
particular project ends by the time the employee’s leave ends.
workday through 20 or more consecutive calendar weeks. This exemption is currently estimated
to apply to nearly three-fourths of all domestic employees.
Avoid Costly Damages
Employers that violate FMLA are liable: 1) for damages equal to the value of lost or denied
compensation or benefits, or 2) for any employee’s actual monetary losses (such as, for example,
the cost of providing care by a third party to a family member).
John D. Sours is a founding partner with Wasson, Sours & Harris, PC, an Atlanta-based law firm specializing in the practice of employment law. To contact Mr. Sours, email [email protected]
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