In Maine: IBEW Local 1837
16 Old Winthrop Road
Manchester, ME 04351
Phone: (207) 623-1030, Fax: (207) 621-8384
In New Hampshire:
680 Central Avenue, Suite 201
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

More Than 25 Years of FMLA: Do You Know Your Rights?

The Family Medical Leave Act, most often known by the initials “FMLA,” has been protecting the job security of workers facing a serious health concern of their own or the health condition of their spouse, parent or child for more than 25 years, yet many workers know very little about it. Click Here for the employee guide.

Under the landmark legislation that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on February 5, 1993 and went into effect six months later, employers are required to provide eligible workers unpaid time off from their jobs for qualifying reasons and the FMLA prohibits employers from interfering with employee rights. Your employer must return you to either the same or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits and working conditions so long as you return to work within 12 weeks.

Employees are eligible for FMLA if they work for a public employer or for a private employer with 50 or more people on the payroll within a 75-mile radius. You must have been employed there for a total of 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding the first day or leave (not including vacation, medical leave or other time off).

The FMLA requires an employer to provide unpaid time off totaling 12-weeks per year for planned or unexpected absences such as the birth of a son or daughter or the foster or adoption placement of a child in your home. Time off must also be provided to care for your spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition, or if you have a condition yourself that makes you unable to perform your job. You may use saved sick time or vacation time along with your FMLA leave so you can continue to get paid. In fact, your employer may require you to use it. They are required to continue to provide you with health insurance during your leave and you will have to continue making your contributions to it.
There are various FMLA regulations that define what a “serious health condition” is, including a hospital stay of at least one night, an incapacity for more than three consecutive calendar days or a chronic or long-term disability.

FMLA time-off may be used intermittently, continuously, or as a reduced schedule under certain circumstances. You must give sufficient and timely notice to your employers of the leave. For a foreseeable absence you should give 30 days notice or notice as soon as possible. For an unforeseeable absence, notice should be given as soon as possible or within one or two business days.

For a copy of the Employee Guide from the U.S. Department of Labor, Click Here or contact the Union Office.