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What are qualifying exigency categories under FMLA?

Louisiana employers must be cognizant of the Family and Medical Leave Act when it comes to all the various situations in which it arises. One issue that must be understood by employers and employees is qualifying exigency leave under FMLA. With FMLA, workers who are eligible can get 12 workweeks off within a 12-month period. But there must be a "qualifying exigency" based on a loved one being deployed. The loved one must be a close relative or a next-of-kin meaning that it will be a spouse, a son, a daughter or a parent.

When the loved one is a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves and is on active duty or is set to be called for active duty or covered active duty, the employee can use FMLA. There are certain categories for qualifying exigency. The employee can use FMLA for a military member being on short-term deployment - within seven days' notice or less - for seven days from the time the notice of deployment is received. If there is a military event, is allowable to use FMLA. With childcare and activities related to it, the worker can take time off with FMLA - the child does not have to be related to the employee.

Caring for a military member's parent is eligible for FMLA. Like the child care issue, the employee does not have to be related. To make financial and legal arrangements for the military member's absence while on active duty such as a power of attorney, the worker can use FMLA.

Some employees need counseling as might the military member, or a child of the military member. This is covered by FMLA. If a military member is on a short-term rest and recuperation leave while deployed, this can give the worker up to 15 calendar days of leave. Post-deployment activities within 90 days of the end of the covered active duty such as arrival ceremonies or a funeral from a deceased military member are covered by FMLA. If there are any events that the employer and employee can agree meets the criteria to be a qualifying exigency, FMLA can be utilized.

An employer does have certain rights under FMLA and if the certification is not provided or the situation does not fall under qualifying exigency, FMLA can be denied. Having legal help to protect from lawsuits and adhere to employment regulations under FMLA is a must. A law firm experienced in all aspects of employment law can help.

Source: dol.gov, "Fact Sheet #28M(c): Qualifying Exigency Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed on Nov. 14, 2017

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