Employers face a wide range of issues when handling employee matters. A common issue is the leave of absence for medical or personal reasons. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides specific employer guidelines for these situations.


A leave of absence is typically an employer-approved period when the employee is excused from work duties. Each company often has a specific policy to cover this, such as two weeks unpaid time off. FMLA requires companies to provide employees unpaid time off if employees and employers meet specific qualifications.


FMLA applies when employees have worked 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months and the company employs more than 50 people at the workplace or within 75 miles. Employees can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, taken continuously, intermittently or by reducing the hours worked by the employee. They are entitled to the same job or one with similar compensation and benefits upon return to work.


Most companies use a leave of absence policy for employees who do not qualify for FMLA. Employees may receive termination after a leave of absence, where employees qualifying for FMLA cannot receive termination for the time off.