"FMLA NC" is an acronym for The Family and Medical Leave Act in North Carolina. To comply with this law, an employer must first follow the rules set in place by the federal government for the Family and Medical Leave Act. Employers must allow any eligible employee the opportunity to take unpaid leave for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Employee illness
  • Sick children, including stepchildren
  • Domestic violence
  • Children's school activities
  • Childbirth
  • Adoptions
  • Illness of a spouse or parent

The Family and Medical Leave Act in North Carolina is applicable only to employers with 50 or more employees. If a company has fewer than 50 employees, the company may provide the employee with either paid or unpaid leave. This decision is at the discretion of the employer.

What Is the Advantage of FMLA?

There are several reasons why using FMLA leave, when applicable, is advantageous to workers, the company, and the community.

For workers, using FMLA helps them continue working for a company and still have the time off needed to address personal or family situations. They can fulfill their responsibilities as a caregiver with the knowledge that their job will be waiting for them when they return to the job.

The company benefits from knowing there is a high probability that workers will return to their jobs after maternity and paternity leave or any other type of family and medical leave covered under the FMLA. When an employee returns to work, it eliminates the need to recruit, hire, and train a new employee. This is cost-effective for the employer.

A community that has an active workforce with access to FMLA benefits, too. The need for social services is reduced, which translates into lower costs to the public. The FMLA supports economic security for the worker, employee, and the community.

How Does FMLA Work with Worker's Compensation and Insurance?

Worker's Compensation

When an employee working in North Carolina is using temporary disability benefits, those benefits are separate. They are not eligible to be used as a substitution for FMLA leave. In other words, a state agency cannot mandate an employee to use any form of compensatory leave for FMLA leave.


North Carolina employees using FMLA leave are required to pay the specified amount of their insurance premiums. If an employee on FMLA leave allows a premium payment to be overdue by more than 30 days, health insurance coverage can be discontinued by the employer. Once the employee's eligible FMLA leave time has ended and the employee returns to work, health insurance must be restored.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for FMLA?

In North Carolina, a state employee who has been employed for 12 months and accrued 1,040 hours over that time is eligible for FMLA leave. Temporary employees or those who work intermittently do not qualify for FMLA under state law.

How Does Sick Leave Work for Eligible State Employees?

North Carolina state employees may use their accrued sick leave for themselves or for an immediate family member for medical appointments. The employee may also use their sick leave when a family member is ill or when an immediate family member passes.

How Does Sick Leave Work for Ineligible State Employees?

There are several options available for state employees who are not eligible for leave of absence under the FMLA.

  • Sick leave may be used when adopting a child or to care for a newborn.
  • If both parents work for the state, each is eligible for 30 sick leave days for an adoption.
  • State employees with an illness or a disability have the option to extend their unpaid leave time by up to 12 months.
  • Leave may be taken by an employee for certain family members when situations such as adoption, foster placement, birth, or a serious health condition arise.

What Are the Repercussions of Indefinite Leave?

In North Carolina, once an employee's eligible FMLA leave of absence has ended but the employee's physician states that the leave needs to be indefinite, the employee is subject to termination.

The 4th Circuit Court has stated that employers are not expected to extend leave, hold the employee's current job, or consider other job positions upon their return. The court feels it is an unreasonable expectation, and employers are not bound to offer any options to an employee once they have reached the end of their eligible FMLA time.

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