FMLA: Protect Yourself

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Lou Sklenarik, Western Area VP, Merged Branch 86.
Lou Sklenarik

The Family Medical Leave Act was signed into law on February 5th, 1993 by President Clinton. FMLA is an act to protect you from absences from work because of a serious illness to you or a family member.

Type of leave permitted

Employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks per year. It can be taken all at once or intermittently during the entire year. They are not paid, you have to use your own leave. For your own case, you can use your own annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay. For a serious illness of a family member you can use up to 80 hours of dependent care sick leave then your annual leave after that period. All FMLA leave is protected federally and cannot be cited against you or used for any type of disciplinary purposes. Use the proper PS3971 Form to annotate all approved leave and to protect yourself from it being improperly recorded by management as an unscheduled absence.

Eligibility for FMLA

To be qualified for FMLA you have meet three criteria’s: First you have to work one full year on the job. Second, you have to have a minimum of 1250 hours worked during the past year. Third, the facility you work in must have a minimum of 50 workers within a 75 mile radius from the facility where the employee requesting leave under the FMLA currently serves.

Qualifying reasons

Any potential qualifying reasons when you apply for FMLA needs the support of a medical physician. The doctor has to explain what the serious medical condition is, how long it’s going to last and furthermore about how much time per day, week or month you are potentially going to be absent from work. If you have a case where you missed 10 days because of a viral infection that would be a one-time case number for ten days to excuse you from that absence. If you have an ongoing issue with a bad knee, you may have an open ended FMLA case number because you are using it intermittently. You can have more than one case number open at a time. Each case number is specific to the condition that has been approved.

Qualifying reasons for FMLA are the birth of a newborn child, fostering or adopting a child. Others include any type of illness that keeps you out more than three days and requires an antibiotic. Most surgeries are approved in advance. You can trigger FMLA paperwork thru the ERMS Line, management or your steward.

Any questions don’t hesitate to ask your steward for help!

Fraternally yours,
Lou Sklenarik, Executive VP
Merged Branch 86

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