Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires most private employers with over 50 employees and most government employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year because of the worker's, or an immediate family member's, serious health condition. This leave can be used by a parent/guardian to provide care for a student with diabetes.
Who is covered?
To be eligible to use FMLA, the employee must:
- Have at least 12 months of job seniority
- Have worked no less than 1,250 hours for the employer during the prior 12 months
- Work for an employer having at least 50 employees within 75 miles of his/her job site or the location the employee reports to
- Intend to return to his or her job at the end of the leave period
What type of leave is covered?
Leave is permitted for absences of up to 12 weeks per year. This leave can be used for routine appointments, when a child cannot attend school because of diabetes, or to respond to an emergency. FMLA, however, does not relieve schools of their obligations to provide diabetes care to students.
What must the employer provide?
FMLA does not require the employer to provide paid leave. It does, however, prohibit the employer from discharging or demoting an employee who takes FMLA leave.
State family and medical leave laws
Some states also have family and medical leave laws that may provide additional protections for parents/guardians of students with diabetes. Some, for example, provide coverage for employees of smaller employers. State law should always be consulted for additional protections.