skip navigational linksDOL Seal - Link to DOL Home Page
Photos representing the workforce - Digital Imagery© copyright 2001 PhotoDisc, Inc.
November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Benefits >
Family and Medical Leave


Family and Medical Leave

 Frequently Asked Questions


* The Family and Medical Leave Act was amended on January 28, 2008. Please visit Wage and Hour's Web page for additional information.

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 for the following reasons: 1) birth and care of the eligible employee's child, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee; 2) care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition; or 3) care of the employee's own serious health condition. It also requires that employee's group health benefits be maintained during the leave. The FMLA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requires that a person reemployed under its provisions be given credit for any months and hours of service he or she would have been employed, but for the military service, in determining eligibility for FMLA leave. The USERRA is administered by the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS).

Application of the FMLA can also be impacted by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). See "Related Topics and Links" below.





  • elaws Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Advisor - This interactive e-tool provides information about employee eligibility under the law including valid reasons for leave, employee/employer notification responsibilities, and employee rights and benefits.



In addition to records required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that employers designate time taken as FMLA by eligible employees as such and preserve certain notices to and from employees concerning medical leave. See 29 CFR 825.500.

  • Form WH-380 - An optional form that may be used to obtain a medical certification from a health care provider.
  • Form WH-381 - An optional form that an employer may use to respond to an employee's request for leave.


  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - Provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.
  • January 28, 2008 Amendments to FMLA (Section 585 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008) - Among other things, amends FMLA to permit a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness."
  • 29 CFR Part 825 - Regulations pertaining to the FMLA.



  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
    Wage and Hour Division
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-3502
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact WHD
    Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-1325
    Washington, D.C. 20210
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365) or 202-693-4770
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

Phone Numbers