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Determining whether an employee is covered by FMLA

Many California employees appreciate the availability of leave through FMLA as they address personal or family situations such as a serious illness. However, some face conflict with their employers based on disputes over eligibility. Both employers and employees need to be aware of the basic requirements for eligibility to ensure that such misunderstandings can be resolved effectively.

There are three primary issues that need to be addressed as a business determines whether its employees could make use of FMLA leave. From the employer's perspective, one of the simplest issues to address may be that of the number of employees in the company. FMLA leave may be an option for one's employees if the company has at least 50 workers.

If a company meets this requirement, an employee's service relates to the additional two issues governing FMLA eligibility. The employee must have worked for the company for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible for FMLA leave. However, these months do not need to be consecutive. In the consecutive 12 months prior to the leave being sought, an employee must have completed a minimum of 1,250 hours on the job.

The three-prong test for FMLA eligibility may be most confusing for part-time or seasonal employees. An employee might work for a retailer during the holiday season, for example, but might not work enough hours to total 1,250 during that period. In fact, a part-time worker with 12 consecutive months of service whose hours each week average less than 24 might have difficulty in meeting the FMLA requirements for minimum hours worked.

Workers who believes that they are facing discrimination in connection with FMLA might choose to review the matter with a lawyer. Check stubs and other evidence could be helpful in identifying whether the tests of minimum service and minimum hours have been met.

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