How do I qualify for FMLA leave?

To qualify for FMLA leave, you must meet specific criteria like working for a covered employer, which includes private employers with 50 or more employees, government agencies, and certain educational institutions. You should have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have logged at least 1,250 hours of service during that time.

How much FMLA leave am I entitled to?

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave within a 12-month period. However, there are specific circumstances where you may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered military servicemember.

Can my employer require me to use my paid leave during FMLA?

Yes, your employer can require you to use any accrued paid leave (such as vacation or sick days) concurrently with your FMLA leave. This means your paid leave and FMLA leave will run at the same time.

What medical conditions are covered under FMLA?

FMLA provides leave for serious health conditions that make an employee unable to perform their job or for specific family-related situations, including the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child and caring for a family member with a serious health condition. “Serious health condition” generally refers to an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care, ongoing treatment, or chronic conditions requiring periodic recovery or treatment.

Can I be laid off while on FMLA leave?

While employees are afforded job and benefit protections during their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, it is important to note that they are not completely immune from layoffs or other forms of termination as long as such actions are unrelated to their FMLA leave. FMLA regulation 825.216 (a) applies. The regulation states: “An employee has no greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits and conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed during the FMLA leave period. An employer must be able to show that an employee would not otherwise have been employed at the time reinstatement is requested in order to deny restoration to employment.” As the regulation indicates, it is the employer’s responsibility to demonstrate that the layoff was unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.

Can my employer dictate when and how I take FMLA intermittent leave?

While employers have the right to determine the scheduling of intermittent FMLA leave when it is foreseeable and can minimize disruption, they cannot unreasonably interfere with an employee’s use of intermittent leave. Employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule their leave in a way that minimizes disruption to the employer’s operations. However, employers cannot dictate the specific days or hours of leave if it is medically necessary or if the leave is being used for certain family-related situations.

How is intermittent FMLA leave tracked and counted?

Intermittent FMLA leave is typically tracked in increments as small as one hour. Employers may use different methods to track the leave, such as using an electronic timekeeping system or requiring employees to submit timecards indicating the hours taken for FMLA. The total hours of intermittent leave taken within a given 12-month period should not exceed the maximum amount of FMLA leave the employee is entitled to.

Severance Agreements

What is a severance agreement?
A: A severance agreement, also known as a separation agreement, is a legal contract between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms and conditions surrounding the end of the employment relationship. It typically sets forth the rights and obligations of both parties, often providing financial compensation, benefits continuation, and other considerations to the employee in exchange for their agreement to release any potential legal claims against the employer. The terms of a severance agreement can vary but commonly cover issues such as severance pay, confidentiality provisions, non-compete agreements, and the return of company property. Employees may be asked to sign a severance agreement upon being laid off, terminated, or when leaving a job voluntarily.

Why do employers offer severance packages?
A: Certain employers choose to provide severance pay to employees who are terminated, whether it be through involuntary or voluntary means. The main purposes behind offering a severance package are to mitigate the impact of an involuntary termination and to prevent potential lawsuits by having the employee sign a release of known or unknown claims in exchange for the severance.

Am I entitled to receive a severance package?
A: Generally, unless there is a specific employment contract providing for severance, employees are not automatically entitled to severance pay. However, many employers choose to offer severance packages voluntarily as a goodwill gesture, as part of a company policy, or if they want the employee to release legal claims the employee may have against the company.

Can I negotiate the terms of a severance agreement?
A: In some cases, employers may be open to negotiating certain aspects of the agreement, such as the amount of severance pay, the duration of continued benefits, or the inclusion/exclusion of certain clauses. It is important to approach negotiations with proper understanding and seek legal advice to determine if you should negotiate the severance agreement.

What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
A: A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also referred to as a confidentiality agreement, is a legally binding contract between an employer and an employee that outlines the confidential information the employer will share and restricts its disclosure to third parties.

What was the reason my employer required me to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
A: The purpose of an NDA is to protect sensitive and proprietary information from being shared or used without permission, thereby maintaining its confidentiality. This agreement is commonly used when employees have access to proprietary information. Non-disclosure agreements specify what information is considered confidential, the duration of the agreement, the obligations of the employee, and the consequences of breaching the agreement. By signing an NDA, the employee demonstrates their commitment to preserving the confidentiality of the shared information.