Family/Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that was passed in 1993 and governs unpaid leave. The law allows employees to: 1) take up to 13 weeks of unpaid leave each year for the arrival of a new child; and, 2) deal with their own serious health condition or one of a family member.

Once the leave is over, employees are entitled to reinstatement. Even though an employee does not have to be paid, he or she may keep health and other benefits. However, if the employee does not return they may be responsible for reimbursing the employer.

Employees who work for larger employers are entitled to unpaid leave. Specifically, companies with 50 or more employees must provide unpaid leave. Employees who have worked an average of 30 or more hours a week for at least 12 consecutive months are eligible under Rhode Island law.

Importantly, mothers and fathers have equal rights to unpaid leave.