Family & Medical Leave Act

Section 202 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) applies certain rights and protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to covered employees. These rights and protections entitle eligible employees to take leave for certain family and medical reasons and to be reinstated to their prior positions upon their return to work.

Eligible employees are entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of family and medical leave during a 12-month period. Employers are not required to pay employees on FMLA leave, but employees are entitled to continue receiving health insurance benefits. Certain notifications may be required of both employees and employers with regard to taking FMLA leave.

Under some circumstances, employees may take family and medical leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule. It is also possible that an eligible employee may choose – or an employing office may require – that an employee substitute vacation, sick, or other types of personal leave for some or all of their unpaid FMLA leave.

At the conclusion of family and medical leave, an employee has the right to return to work in the same or an equivalent position as that held when leave commenced. There are limited exceptions to this right for “key” employees.

Family and medical leave may be taken for a number of defined reasons. These reasons include the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee; placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a “serious health condition;” or because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.

FMLA also has provisions applying to military families. Eligible employees who have a spouse, son or daughter, or parent who is on active duty or call to active duty status in the National Guard or Reserves (or has been called from retirement in the Armed Services or Reserves) in support of a contingency operation are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain “qualifying exigencies.”

Qualifying exigencies” may include attending certain military events, making alternative childcare arrangements, making certain legal and financial arrangements, attending certain counseling sessions, spending time with the military family member who returns for a short-term period during his or her deployment, and participating in certain post-deployment activities.

Eligible employees are entitled to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a “covered servicemember” during a single 12-month period. A “covered servicemember” is a member of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, who is (1) undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, (2) is in outpatient status, or (3) is on the temporary disability retired list, for an injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty that may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform his or her duties.

To qualify as an eligible employee entitled to FMLA benefits, a covered employee must have been employed in any employing office for a total of 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours of employment during the previous 12 months. Certain other eligibility requirements may apply.

For more information, please refer to the Congressional Accountability Act and the CAA Handbook.