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What rights do you have under the Texas Family and Medical Leave Act?

All Texas employees have rights in the workplace. The Family and Medical Leave Act is in place to protect them when they need to take leave for medical reasons. These are your rights under this federal law.

Understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is available to employees of private and public businesses and organizations. It allows workers to take time off to tend to their serious health condition or a family member who requires their care. Workers of private businesses with at least 50 employees must have worked for at least 20 weeks during the current or prior calendar year to be eligible. This time doesn’t have to be consecutive, but workers must have worked at least 1,250 hours within the year before taking time off.

Under this employment law, qualified workers can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Employers must hold onto those workers’ jobs so they can return to them when they return. If that’s not possible, they must provide similar positions to employees with equal pay.

If possible, employees must notify their employers when they need to take FMLA time off. This isn’t always possible; some medical emergencies are sudden and unforeseen.

Serious health conditions explained

Under the FMLA, a “serious health condition” is any medical or mental health condition that requires a person to stay overnight at a hospital or similar facility to undergo continuing treatment. That condition must also prevent the employee from going to work for more than three consecutive days. In addition, it requires one or more health-related appointments to see doctors to receive follow-up treatment and prescription medication.

Any medical condition considered to be chronic qualifies under the FMLA. For example, while not an illness, pregnancy is covered under the law because it can cause morning sickness, required bed rest, and multiple medical appointments.

Employers must comply with the FMLA when workers need time.