The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that all employers should be aware of. FMLA allows employees to take job-protected, unpaid leave with some benefits still intact. As an employer, you may be confused who to offer FMLA leave, how long to offer it, and what is protected through FMLA leave. Here are the most important things for you to know about FMLA: 


Not all employers are required to offer FMLA leave. Employers must offer FMLA to their employees if they are either:  

  • A private employer with 50 or more employees employed within a 75-mile radius in at least 20 weeks of the current or preceding calendar year  
  • Or, a public agency, including Local, State, and Federal employers and local education agencies. 

Companies who are not required to offer FMLA may choose to offer it anyway. Companies that choose to opt in and offer FMLA to their employees need to continue to offer it for at least a year before reevaluating their position.  

How Long 

Employees are allowed 12 workweeks of leave in any 12-month period. If the employee is the next of kin for a military service member, they get 26 workweeks of leave in any 12-month period.  

What’s Protected 

Certain employee benefits are protected through FMLA. First, when employees come back from FMLA leave, they are guaranteed their job back with the same amount of pay or a job at the same level as their previous job for the same pay. Employees also retain their group benefits as if they had continued to be at work while on FMLA leave. In many cases, this is the only way an employee can retain their group benefits while not actively working.  

There are many employer requirements associated with FMLA leave including notices that must be sent out to employees with strict deadlines. For more information, check out our FMLA Fact Sheet. Clients of Helpside can reach out to our experts for assistance at