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Establishing the 12-Month Period under the FMLA

On Behalf of | May 31, 2013 | Family Medical Leave Claims |

Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees who work for covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave in a defined 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Eligible employees are entitled to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”

Employers may select one of four options to establish the 12-month period under the FMLA. The option chosen by the employer is to be uniformly applied to all employees taking FMLA leave.

The first of these options is the calendar year. The calendar year is defined as the 12-month period that runs from January 1 through December 31.

The second option is any fixed 12 months. Common examples of this 12-month period include a fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) or an employee’s anniversary date.

The third option is the 12-month period measured forward. This 12-month period is measured from the first date an employee takes FMLA leave. The next 12-month period would begin the first time FMLA leave is taken after completion of the preceding 12-month period.

The fourth and final option is a “rolling” 12-month period measured backward. This 12-month period is measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the ‘‘rolling’’ 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.

Employers may select any one of these four methods to establish the 12-month period as long as the method is applied consistently and uniformly for all employees. If an employer fails to select one of the 12-month period methods discussed above, the employer must use the 12-month period method that is the most beneficial to the employee. Under no circumstances, however, may an employer change the 12-month period to avoid the requirements of the FMLA.

Importantly, the FMLA prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right provided by the FMLA. The FMLA further makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice, or because of involvement in any proceeding, related to the FMLA.

Lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio

The FMLA authorizes an employee who believes that his or her rights under the FMLA have been violated to file a private lawsuit against his or her employer in court. The employment attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm have extensive experience representing clients in FMLA retaliation cases against their employer. Don’t try to navigate the legal process alone.  Call Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation.

If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.


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