Rob Hudson recently lectured at the Sterling Educational Services “ADA, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation” Summit in Miami on the Family and Medical Leave Act, a law that has proven challenging to both employees and employers. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides an entitlement of up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period to eligible, covered employees (those who have been employed for at least one year and worked at least 1,250 hours during that year) for the following reasons: 1) birth and care of the eligible employee’s child, or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee; 2) care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition; 3) care of the employee’s own serious health condition; or 4) a “qualifying exigency” arising out of military service. In addition, the FMLA provides up to 26 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave for the care of qualifying military service members. The FMLA also requires that an employee’s group health benefits be maintained during any qualifying leave. The FMLA is administered by the Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor. The FMLA became law in 1993. The Act was amended by the National Defense Authorization Act in 2008 to expand coverage for certain military situations, including leave for employees to care for injured military service members and for leave related to qualifying exigencies arising out of military service. It is unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain or deny the exercise of any right provided by the FMLA. Employee complaints alleging violations of the FMLA may be filed with Department of Labor or as a private civil action in federal or state court. Employees whose rights are found to have been violated may be granted damages (including liquidated damages), equitable relief and costs.