February 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. For three decades FMLA has had a significant impact, providing employees unpaid job protection so they can take leave to deal with personal and family medical issues.
For most employers (private sector with 50 or more employees, plus others) the FMLA requires providing up to 12 weeks of job protected leave of absence per year for an employee to care for a personal serious health condition, or one impacting a family member.
While unpaid, the leave requires the employer to restore a returning employee with the same or similar position with equivalent pay and benefits. It also specifies the employee’s group health coverage must be maintained at the same level/cost as prior to taking leave.