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3 key things all employees should know about FMLA

One federal law that requires many San Francisco employers to offer certain protections to their employees is the Family Medical Leave Act. FMLA offers additional sick time and job protection to workers who need time off to manage their own or their loved ones' health concerns. Workers who are denied FMLA, wrongfully terminated or experience retaliatory actions from their employers may pursue FMLA litigation

You do not have to have an active FMLA request to benefit from learning about common issues that other encounter when using it. After all, you never know when you might need it. Here are some factors about FMLA all workers should keep in mind. 

1. All employers do not offer it 

There is a misconception that FMLA is an automatic benefit for any employee. Federal law only requires employers with 50 or more workers to have this coverage. Many small businesses and corporations hire contractors to avoid FMLA. Check with your employer to ensure there are at least 50 employees on the payroll. 

2. Approval is not automatic 

Before workers can use FMLA, they must qualify, and their employer must approve it. Most employers have a process in place to make it easier for them and their workers to deal with FMLA. To qualify, the employee must have a severe or ongoing medical issue such as cancer or pregnancy, or be caring for an immediate family member who is suffering from a serious illness. 

3. FMLA does not cover all workers 

To qualify for FMLA, employees must work a minimum of 25 hours per week. Many part-time workers do not even know they are eligible for this federal protection. It is important to know your exact employment status (independent contractor, full or part-time) to ensure you are not missing out on critical federal protections that can make managing your health, life and work balance easier.

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