Shaleigha Shepard
Shaleigha Shepard Trial Attorney

As an employee in Houston, Texas, understanding your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is crucial. The FMLA is a federal law that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. For workers facing health challenges or needing time to care for their loved ones, FMLA can be an essential support system. However, navigating its complexities requires insight and awareness.

In Houston, just like in the rest of the United States, eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period under FMLA. This leave can be taken for various reasons, including:

  • The birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.
  • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition.
  • To attend to the employee’s own health condition that makes them unable to perform their job.

It’s essential to note that the leave is unpaid, but employers may allow or employees may choose to use paid leave (like sick or vacation days) to cover some or all of the FMLA leave period.

To be eligible for FMLA in Houston, employees must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, accumulated 1,250 hours of work in the preceding 12 months, and work for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. Not meeting these criteria might exclude employees from FMLA coverage.

Employees seeking FMLA must give notice to their employer as soon as practicable. In cases of foreseeable leave, such as planned medical treatments or the expected birth of a child, employees should provide 30-day notice. In emergency situations, notice should be given as soon as possible.

Houston, being a part of Texas, also operates under state-specific employment laws, which may interact with federal laws like the FMLA. For instance, some employers might provide more generous benefits or offer FMLA coverage to employees not covered by the federal law. It’s crucial for Houston employees to understand both federal and state-level regulations to ensure they are fully informed about their rights.

Employers are obligated to maintain an employee’s health benefits during their FMLA leave and reinstate them to the same or an equivalent position upon return. Employers should not retaliate against employees for taking FMLA leave or interfere with their rights under the law.

Navigating the intricacies of FMLA in Houston, Texas, demands an understanding of both federal and state-specific laws. Employees must be aware of their rights, eligibility criteria, notification requirements, and potential benefits. Seeking legal counsel or guidance from HR professionals can significantly assist employees in comprehending and asserting their rights under the FMLA.

Remember, knowledge is power. Employees in Houston should familiarize themselves with these crucial details to ensure they can effectively utilize the provisions offered by the FMLA. Stay informed, know your rights, and seek assistance when needed to protect your interests in the workplace.

Know your rights when it comes to FMLA. If you’ve faced challenges or retaliation while exercising your FMLA rights, seeking guidance from an experienced employment attorney is crucial. Contact me in Houston or reach out to our skilled Texas employment lawyers in Austin or Dallas today for the support you need.