Family and Medical Leave Act (1993)

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The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a federal statute that requires employers with 50 or more employees to allow those employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event the employee has a newborn child or the employee / employee’s close relative suffers a debilitating injury. The Family and Medical Leave Act is codified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 29 CFR 825.

To qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, must have been employed for 1250 hours of service, and must have a qualifying justification to invoke the protections of the act. If these conditions are met, the employer must grant the employee their job back once they return from leave. 

An employee who believes their employer has violated the Family and Medical Leave Act can choose to either file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Labor or file an independent lawsuit against that employer.  

[Last updated in January of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]