What Is Texas FMLA?

FMLA Texas is the abbreviated term for the Family and Medical Leave Act and the specifics of the act relevant in the state of Texas. The act entitles employees to unpaid leave from work in the event of a serious medical condition suffered by the employee or the employee's family.

What Is FMLA?

The FMLA works in the interest of employees in instances when they need leave for health or family emergency reasons. It requires that covered employers provide their employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain applicable reasons. During this time, the employee's job will remain protected. Eligible employees can also receive up to 26 weeks of leave for matters related to military service.

In order to be eligible for the FMLA, employees must have been working for the covered employer for a minimum of one year and have worked a minimum of at least 1,250 hours over the previous months. The employer must have at least 50 employees working for them within a 75-mile radius.

Definitions of Medical Leaves

The FMLA divides leave types into two main categories: medical leave and personal leave.

Medical Leave

This covers employees giving birth or experiencing a serious health condition. In the instance of the latter, the following must be considered for the employee to be granted leave.

  • The "serious health condition" relates to a health concern for which the patient requires inpatient care or ongoing treatment.
  • Employees are required to provide a medical certificate from their health care provider.
  • In obtaining the medical certificate, employees must make clear to the provider what their job position is so that the provider can judge accordingly as to whether time off is necessary.
  • Employers may require that employees obtain a second opinion from a designated physician specified by them.
  • If the first two medical opinions are conflicting, then a third opinion may be required. Selecting this physician will be a joint effort between the employer and employee.
  • The employee might be required to provide a medical certificate both during their period of leave and then again prior to their return to the workplace.

Personal Leave

Under the FMLA, personal leave relates to an instance where an employee requires a leave of absence to care for a family member who has a serious health condition. This includes family members under Service Member Leave.

In order to be entitled to leave under FMLA, employees must submit a certification to the employer that states that the employee's presence is necessary or beneficial to the care of the family member. The 12 weeks of family and medical leave that employees are entitled to during a 12-month period may be taken for any one or combination of the following scenarios that are covered under FMLA:

  • Giving birth to a child and care of a newborn child
  • Involvement in the care of a newborn child born to a spouse
  • Foster care placement or adoption
  • Medical leave for employees suffering from serious health issues
  • Personal leave in order to care for a family member with a serious health condition

Eligible Employees

Employers are only required to pay employees on FMLA leave if the employee is entitled to paid time off or sick time and has chosen to use it in during the instance that necessitates FMLA leave or if there is a policy within the company that requires the use of paid time off before the leave progresses to being unpaid.

In certain circumstances, employers may choose to include additional paid leave time into their leave of absence policy as an added benefit and goodwill gesture to their employees in particular circumstances. The payroll department must be made aware of any changes to employees' salary packages during their leave of absence.

FMLA Leaves Under the State of Texas

The FMLA Texas covers several points which are specific to those living and working in the state of Texas. These are summarized below.

Sick Leave Related Matters

  • If employees are unable to perform their duties as a result of injury, sickness, confinement, or pregnancy, then they are permitted to sick leave with pay under FMLA Texas.
  • Sick leave with pay is also allowed in instances where an employee is required to care for a sick relative in their immediate family (where immediate family refers to members living in the same household and related by either kinship, adoption, or marriage).
  • If employees need to care for minor children. Employees are covered in this instance whether the child actually lives with the individual or not. As certified by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, it also covers foster children.
  • If employees are absent for less than three days, then they do not need a certificate of illness from their doctor in order to receive sick pay. However, if they are going to be absent for a period longer than three days, a certificate is required.

Matters of Parental Leave

According to the state law of Texas, state employees are permitted up to 12 weeks of parental leave. This is possible even if the individual does not meet the standard U.S. eligibility requirements. Parental leave covers birth and adoption of a child. It also covers a child being placed in foster care with an employee, where the foster child is under three years of age.

In order to receive FMLA absence for parental leave, the employee must first use up any remaining paid vacation and sick pay that they have available, and then take the remainder of their time off as unpaid.

Emergency Leave

In bereavement cases, emergency leave is granted to an employee if they experience the death of a family member (parent, grandparent, child, spouse, sibling, or equivalent close relative). This is given without a reduction in pay.

Leave for School Visits

Employees who have children that are studying in grades K–12 may use up to eight hours of their sick leave allowance in order to attend school meetings. Reasonable notice must be provided in advance.

Leave to Give Medical Donations

If employees provide any type of medical donation, they are entitled to varying levels of time off depending on the nature of the donation. For medical donations, the employee will not receive any deduction in their salary.

  • Blood donation: Proof of the donation must be provided. Employees are permitted "sufficient time off" for this, where "sufficient" is at the employer's judgment up to four times annually.
  • Bone marrow donation: Up to five days per year
  • Organ donation: Up to 30 days per year

Military Leave

If an employee is either a member of the military reserve or a member of state military forces, then they are entitled to up to 15 days paid absence for ordered duty or training purposes. The employee will not experience any loss of stature or benefits for this leave of absence and will be considered as being away on furlough during this period.

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