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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Missouri: How Does It Work?

7 min read

This article offers a comprehensive guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in Missouri, detailing eligibility criteria, types of leave available, and the rights and obligations of both employees and employers.

We also look into how Missouri’s state law aligns with federal FMLA guidelines, providing a clear comparison for easier understanding.

Whether you’re an employee seeking to understand your rights or an employer aiming to comply with legal requirements, this guide serves as an essential resource to demystify FMLA in Missouri.


What is Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

As a landmark piece of legislation in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993. In the beginning, it was recognized that workers facing health crises, without losing their jobs, needed help.

In essence, FMLA allows employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year while maintaining their health insurance coverage. All government agencies, elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees are covered by this law. FMLA covers a wide range of situations, including illness, childbirth, adoption, and military family circumstances.

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FMLA: Eligibility Criteria in Missouri

In Missouri, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) sets specific criteria to determine who is covered under its provisions.

criteria fmla missouri

  • Employer Eligibility: FMLA applies to private-sector employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. It also encompasses all public agencies, including local, state, and federal employers, and public and private elementary and secondary schools, regardless of the number of employees.
  • Employee Eligibility: To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive). They must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave. The employee should be working at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Qualifying Reasons under the FMLA in Missouri

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in Missouri, employees are entitled to take leave for several significant reasons:

  • Personal: Leave for an employee’s own serious health issue
  • Family Member’s Serious Health Conditions:  This includes to care for a spouse, child, or parent suffering from a serious health condition.
  • Birth, Adoption, or Foster Care Placement of a Child: FMLA allows parents to take leave for the birth of a child, as well as for the adoption or foster care placement of a child, providing time for bonding and care.
  • Military-Related Exigencies and Caregiver Leave: Employees may take leave for reasons related to a family member’s military service, including exigencies arising from a family member’s deployment. FMLA also provides for a longer leave (up to 26 weeks) to care for a family member who is a service member with a serious injury or illness.

Duration and Types of Family and Medical Leaves in Missouri

Duration of leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Maximum Duration of FMLA Leave: Employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period. In the case of military caregiver leave, this duration extends to 26 weeks.

Types of Family and Medical Leaves in Missouri

  • Continuous Leave: This involves taking a continuous, uninterrupted leave period.
  • Intermittent Leave: This type of leave allows employees to take FMLA leave in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason.
  • Reduced Schedule Leave: This allows an employee to reduce their working hours, either daily or weekly, for a period of time due to a qualifying reason.

Employee Rights and Employer Obligations Under the FMLA Leave

rights fmla missouri

Job Security

Employees are guaranteed the right to return to the same or an equivalent position.

This protection ensures job security, even after an extended period away for qualifying reasons.

Health Insurance Maintenance

Employers must maintain the employee’s health insurance under the same terms and conditions as if they had not taken leave.

Employees continue to be responsible for their portion of health insurance premiums.

Protection of Employee Benefits

Employee’s benefits are maintained as if the worker is actively working.

Employer’s Role in Granting Leave and Maintaining Compliance

Employers are required to grant leave to eligible employees for qualifying reasons under the FMLA.

They must also keep accurate records and comply with all aspects of the FMLA, including not interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of FMLA rights.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for taking FMLA leave.

How To Request FMLA Leave in Missouri

Step-by-Step Guide on How Employees Can Request FMLA Leave

  1. Determine Eligibility: You must work at a location with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius and be employed for at least 12 months by a covered employer.
  2. Understand the Reason for Leave: Determine your FMLA qualifying reason, such as personal health issues, family member care, birth or adoption of a child, or military exigencies.
  3. Notify Your Employer: Notify your employer in writing or verbally of your need for FMLA leave. While immediate notice is not always possible, FMLA generally requires 30 days’ advance notice.
  4. Submit Required Forms and Documentation: Complete any FMLA leave request forms provided by your employer. Provide medical certification or other required documentation to support your leave request, such as a doctor’s note or military orders, if applicable.
  5. Await Employer Response: After submitting your request, your employer must respond within five business days, notifying you of your eligibility and detailing any additional information required.
  6. Coordinate Leave Details: Discuss with your employer the specifics of your leave, such as the start date, duration, and any potential need for intermittent leave or a reduced schedule.
  7. Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities: Review the rights and responsibilities under FMLA, including job protection, health insurance continuation, and any obligations you have during your leave.

Documentation and Notice Requirements

  • Medical Certification: If you need leave due to serious medical conditions (personal or family), provide a medical certificate. The certification should include the date the condition began, its expected duration, and relevant medical facts.
  • Advance Notice: In case of foreseeable leave, such as childbirth or planned medical treatment, provide at least 30 days’ notice.
  • Periodic Updates: Keep your employer informed about your status and intent to return to work, especially if the leave duration changes.
  • Fitness-for-Duty Certification: Provide your employer with a fitness-for-duty certification before returning to work from serious health leave.

Federal vs State Specifics: Comparison of FMLA and Missouri’s State Law

In comparing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with Missouri’s state law, it’s essential to recognize that while the federal FMLA offers a broad framework of protections, Missouri’s state law aligns closely with these guidelines, especially for public-sector employers, with a few notable specifics.

Nature of Leave

  • FMLA: Provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period for reasons including the birth and care of a newborn, adoption, caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or personal serious health conditions.
  • Missouri Law: Mostly mirrors the FMLA but includes provisions for the use of accrued sick leave and additional leave for adoptive parents. Public employees in Missouri can use accrued sick leave for various family-related reasons and are entitled to specific leaves for medical donations, like bone marrow transplants and organ donations.

Eligibility and Coverage

  • FMLA: Applicable to public agencies, public/private schools, and private-sector employers with 50 or more employees. Eligibility requires 12 months of employment and at least 1,250 hours worked in the preceding 12 months.
  • Missouri Law: The state’s family and medical leave law conforms closely with the FMLA for public-sector employers. It allows the substitution of paid leave when family or medical leave is requested and specifies the use of sick leave for certain family-related reasons.

Job Protection and Health Insurance

  • Both FMLA and Missouri law provide job protection during leave. Under FMLA, maintenance of health insurance is required during the leave.

Discrimination and Retaliation Protections

  • Both federal and Missouri law protect employees from discrimination or retaliation for taking leave under FMLA.

Coordination with Other Benefits

  • Missouri law allows for the use of accrued benefits like sick leave in conjunction with FMLA leave, providing a bit more flexibility for employees.

Interaction Between Federal and State Laws

  • In Missouri, there’s close alignment between federal and state laws, with state law mostly following the FMLA guidelines, except for a few additional provisions for public-sector employees.

Resources about Missouri

Here are some other important Missouri related articles

FMLA per State

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FAQ about Family and Medical Leave in Missouri

1. What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

FMLA is a federal law that provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, while maintaining health insurance coverage, for reasons like illness, childbirth, adoption, or military family needs.

2. What are the FMLA eligibility criteria in Missouri?

Eligibility includes working for an employer with 50+ employees within 75 miles for at least 12 months and having at least 1,250 work hours in the past year.

3. What qualifies for FMLA leave in Missouri?

Qualifying reasons include personal serious health conditions, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, birth, adoption, foster care, and military-related exigencies.

4. What is the duration and type of FMLA leave in Missouri?

Employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks (26 weeks for military caregiver leave) of unpaid leave. Types of leave include continuous, intermittent, or reduced schedule.

5. What rights are protected under FMLA in Missouri?

FMLA guarantees job security, requiring employers to allow employees to return to the same or equivalent position. It also mandates the maintenance of health insurance under the same terms and protection of employee benefits.

6. How do you request FMLA leave in Missouri?

To request FMLA leave, determine your eligibility, identify the reason for leave, notify your employer, submit necessary forms and documentation, await employer response, and coordinate the specifics of your leave.

7. What are the documentation and notice requirements for FMLA in Missouri?

Required documentation includes medical certification for health-related leaves. For foreseeable leaves, like childbirth, provide at least 30 days’ notice. Keep your employer informed about your leave status and plans to return to work.

8. How does Missouri’s state law compare to federal FMLA?

Missouri law closely follows federal FMLA guidelines, with specific provisions for public-sector employees, such as the use of accrued sick leave and additional leave for adoptive parents.

HR Expert | Talent Management Enthusiast. You've found the right place! I'm Jose Sanchez, your expert HR guide with extensive experience in HR insight and talent management. I write about how businesses can thrive by nurturing and leveraging their talent. When I'm not immersed in HR, I love to explore the fascinating worlds of physics and psychology.

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