The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. While FMLA is commonly associated with full-time positions, as a part-time employee you are also entitled to its benefits under certain conditions.
You may have FMLA protections even if you work less than 40 hours a week.
Do you qualify?
Although the Department of Labor notes that as of March 2022, only 24% of private sector employees have access to FMLA benefits, working part-time does not impact your eligibility. You can use this leave if you, and your employer, meet the following criteria:
- You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. This does not have to be continuous, so if you did not work for a period of time you may still qualify.
- In the last 12 months before the leave, you need to have completed at least 1250 hours of paid work, which averages out to 24 hours per week.
- Your employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of where you work.
Note that unless all of these standards apply, you do not qualify for FMLA.
What reasons does FMLA cover?
While you might think that FMLA is only available for your own medical care, there are several other circumstances for which you can use this leave. You also qualify following the birth of a child, or when an adopted or fostered child arrives in your home. Other eligible reasons include caring for a spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition.
How much leave can you take?
Part-time employees may take up to 12 work weeks of leave within a 12-month period. It can be continuous or intermittent, depending on the nature of the medical condition or family situation.
Knowing you can take FMLA even when you do not work full-time buys a lot of peace of mind when you need to use this helpful benefit.