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

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family and medical leave act in Texas

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a crucial federal law that plays a significant role in the lives of Texas employees and employers. In order to ensure one’s job security does not have to be sacrificed because of health or family circumstances, this legislation allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons.

The purpose of this article is to clarify the FMLA in Texas, providing a comprehensive guide to its workings, eligibility criteria, and rights and responsibilities.


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.

FMLA: Eligibility Criteria in Texas

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

Eligibility Criteria for FMLA in Texas

  • 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 Texas

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

family and medical leave reasons in texas

  • 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 Texas

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 Texas

  • 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 under Family and medical leave in Texas

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 Texas

Procedures for Requesting FMLA Leave in Texas

Employees should inform their employer as soon as they are aware of the need for FMLA leave.

The request for FMLA leave should ideally be made in writing, providing clarity on the reason for the leave and the expected duration.

Required Documentation

For medical leave, a certification from a healthcare provider may be required, detailing the need for leave due to a serious health condition.

For birth, adoption, or foster care, relevant documentation might be requested to confirm the family relationship.

Notice Periods

Employees are generally required to provide at least 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave (e.g., childbirth, planned medical treatment).

If the need for leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as practicable, usually within one or two business days of learning of the need for leave.

Texas Specifics: Texas Payday Law

The Texas Payday Law intersects with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in terms of employee benefits.

While FMLA itself provides for unpaid leave, Texas Payday Law says employers must honor any written agreement or policy about paid leave benefits. If an employer offers paid leave, like sick or vacation time, it must be followed even during FMLA leave.

When employees are on FMLA leave, they can use their accrued paid leave benefits, like sick or vacation time, concurrently with their FMLA leave. This allows them to receive pay while on FMLA leave.

Employer Actions Prohibited by FMLA

Employers are not allowed to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA.

This includes refusing to authorize FMLA leave for qualifying reasons, discouraging employees from using FMLA leave, and manipulating work conditions to avoid responsibilities under FMLA.

FMLA provides strong protections against retaliation and discrimination. Employers cannot retaliate against an employee for taking FMLA leave, filing a complaint, or participating in any proceedings related to FMLA.

This means an employee cannot be fired, demoted, or penalized in any other way for utilizing their FMLA rights.

Resources about FMLA in Texas

Here are other important articles related to Texas:

FMLA per State

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FAQ about Family and Medical Leave in Texas

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

FMLA is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons while maintaining their health insurance coverage.

2. Who is eligible for FMLA in Texas?

Employees who have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months, accumulated 1,250 hours of service in the past 12 months, and work at a location with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

3. What are the qualifying reasons for taking FMLA leave?

Serious health conditions, childbirth, adoption, foster care placement, and certain military family situations.

4. How long can I take FMLA leave?

Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period. For military caregiver leave, up to 26 weeks is allowed.

5. Does FMLA leave have to be taken all at once?

No, FMLA leave can be taken continuously, intermittently, or on a reduced schedule basis depending on the situation.

6. Are FMLA leaves paid?

FMLA provides for unpaid leave, but employees can use accrued paid leave (like sick or vacation leave) concurrently, subject to employer policies.

7. What protections does FMLA offer?

Job protection, ensuring return to the same or an equivalent position, and maintenance of health insurance coverage under the same terms as if the employee had not taken leave.

8. Can my employer refuse my FMLA leave request?

Employers cannot refuse FMLA leave if the employee is eligible and the leave is for a qualifying reason.

9. What should I do if I believe my FMLA rights have been violated?

Consider contacting the Department of Labor for guidance, or consult with a legal professional specializing in employment law.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment here, and our HR Specialist will respond as soon as possible.

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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