FMLA: Am I eligible?


The FMLA allows eligible employees to take time off for qualifying family and medical conditions

Under the Department of Labor’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), eligible employees are entitled to unpaid time off for certain family and medical reasons. When you take time off under the FMLA, your job is protected and so is your group health insurance coverage. After taking leave under the FMLA, you can return to work with the same coverage you had before. To be eligible you must be experiencing a covered family or medical reason and meet the eligibility criteria. Any legal questions or concerns you may have about the FMLA can be directed to an employment attorney.

Covered Family and Medical Reasons under the FMLA

The Department of Labor allow eligible employees 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; OR
  • Any qualifying urgent need arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”

The Department of Labor allows eligible employees 26 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period to “care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness” as long as the employee is the service member’s:

  • Spouse,
  • Son,
  • Daughter,
  • Parent, OR
  • Next-of-kin.

FMLA Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must:

  • work for a covered employer;
    • Public agency like a local, state or federal employer, or a school
    • Private sector employers who employ 50 or more employers for at least 20 workweeks in the current or previous calendar year
  • have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave;*
  • work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and
  • have worked for the employer for 12 months.

According to the Department of Labor, “The 12 months of employment are not required to be consecutive in order for the employee to qualify for FMLA leave. In general, only employment within seven years is counted unless the break in service is (1) due to an employee’s fulfillment of military obligations, or (2) governed by a collective bargaining agreement or other written agreement.”

*Airline flight crew employees have a different requirement

Talk to an Employment Attorney about FMLA

Talk to an employment attorney if you believe your employer has violated your rights to FMLA leave or if you have any questions about the law. Don’t hesitate to contact a KM&A employment attorney for a free and immediate consultation. We represent clients in all counties in Pennsylvania. Call us in Pittsburgh at 412-626-5626 or in Philadelphia at 215-618-9185. We can also be reached by email at