Employers in every state are required under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide their employees the opportunity to take unpaid leave for medical, military, and maternity/paternity reasons. Employees who take this time are entitled to have their positions reinstated upon their return.
How Many Weeks of FMLA Can You Take?
Employees are entitled to 12 workweeks of leave every 12 months, provided that they meet the eligibility requirements. What happens if a person needs to take more than their allotted 12 weeks of leave?
When You Can Extend FMLA Beyond 12 Weeks
If you need FMLA for slightly longer than 12 weeks, employers can usually provide a few days to a week of extra time. Allowing an employee to take an extra month or longer, however, could be argued as an undue hardship. Extending FMLA can be complicated, as there is no set rule as to the amount of additional leave that an employer needs to provide, if any at all.
Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship
Extending FMLA depends on the specific circumstances of an employee’s request and the employer’s ability to reasonably provide. The Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAA) states that employers must make a “reasonable accommodation” for employees who need supplementary time away from work, unless the extra time would create an “undue hardship” on the employer.
Within recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed charges against a national retailer for allegedly firing workers who were on disability leave for more than one year without concern for the employee’s reasons for being absent or plans for return. While this serves as an indicator of potential change, these situations are still handled on a case-by-case basis.
Let Us Help You Protect Your FMLA Rights
Were you recently let go from your job after taking more than 12 weeks of leave? If so, a hard-hitting employment lawyer from Buckley Beal LLP can represent your interests in court and help you seek reinstatement of your position. With 85+ years of combined experience, our firm can provide the results-driven advocacy you need.
Call our office today at (404) 781-1100 to discuss your situation in further detail.