What is the "Family Medical Leave Act" (FMLA) in Nevada?

Nevada's Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees of certain employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for various family and medical reasons. Under the FMLA, these employees keep their group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if they had never left.

In order to obtain FMLA benefits, employees must abide by certain rules such as giving adequate notice and getting a doctor's certification when necessary. Once they return to work, they should be restored to the same job they had before and with the same benefits.

In this article, our Las Vegas family law attorneys discuss how the Family Medical Leave Act operates in Nevada:

woman with grandfather (FMLA)
Eligible employees in Nevada may be able to take time off to care for ailing family without risking their job.

1. Legal Definition of FMLA in Nevada

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits eligible employees of covered employers to temporarily take time off of work to tend to their own or their family's health issues. This leave is unpaid but job-protected, and their group health insurance coverage continues as before.

Specifically, eligible employees are entitled to:

(1) 26 weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin; OR

(2) 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of the child's birth;
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • To care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; and
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of circumstances involving the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent as being a covered military member on “covered active duty”.1

2. Covered Employers and Eligible Employees in Nevada

As stated above, FMLA includes only “covered employers.” Under the law, a covered employer is defined as one who is:

  • A private-sector employer, with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer;
  • A public agency, including a local, state, or federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees; or
  • A public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees.

Along with covered employers, it is helpful to understand the term “eligible employees.” One is only allowed to take FMLA leave if he or she is considered to be an eligible employee. This is an individual who:

  • Works for a covered employer;
  • Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months;
  • Has a minimum of 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave; and
  • Works at a location where the employer has a minimum of 50 employees within 75 miles.2

3. Notice requirements under the FMLA in Nevada

Generally, an employee must abide by his covered employer's usual requirements for requesting leave. The purpose is to provide the employer with enough information to determine whether FMLA will be applied to the request.

Typically, an employee must give his employer 30 days notice when the need for leave is foreseeable. If 30 days notice is not possible, the employee must give notice as soon as he can under the circumstances.

When an employee is requesting leave for an FMLA-qualifying purpose for the first time, the employee does not have to expressly assert FMLA rights. If an employee requests additional leave for the same qualifying condition, the employee must specifically make reference to either the qualifying reason for leave or the need for FMLA leave.

In order for this process to work, covered employees are required, under the law, to:

  • Post a notice that explains both rights and responsibilities under the FMLA;
  • Include information about the FMLA in the employee handbooks or provide information to newly hired employees;
  • When an employee requests FMLA leave or the employer acquires knowledge that leave may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason, provide the employee with notice concerning his eligibility for FMLA leave and his or her rights and responsibilities under the FMLA; and
  • Notify employees whether the leave is designated as FMLA leave and the amount of leave that will be deducted from the employee's FMLA entitlement.3

4. Required certification under the FMLA in Nevada

If the leave involves an employee leaving due to his own serious health condition or a covered family member's serious health condition, the employer may request certification from a health care provider that will certify the leave. An employer also has the right to ask for additional medical opinions.4

5. Job restoration under the FMLA in Nevada

When an employee returns from his FMLA leave, he/she must be restored to his/her original job or an equivalent that has equal pay, benefits, and other terms of employment. An employer cannot consider FMLA leave to be counted against any form of “no-fault” attendance policy.

Further, covered employers must continue the employee's group health insurance coverage while the employee is on FMLA leave.5

6. Additional FMLA provisions

Employees who work at local education agencies are provided with special rules. In most cases, these rules apply to intermittent or reduced FMLA leave or the taking of FMLA leave near the end of a set school term.

In addition, salaried executive, administrative, and professional employees of covered employers who meet the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) criteria for an exemption from minimum wage and overtime will not lose their FLSA-exempt status by utilizing any unpaid FMLA leave.6

7. FMLA enforcement in Nevada

It is against the law for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right provided under the FMLA. In addition, it is illegal for an employer to terminate or discriminate against any employee for opposing any practice, or because of involvement in any situation related to the FMLA.

In most cases, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for administering and enforcing the FMLA for the majority of employees. Further, most federal and some congressional employees are also covered by the law but are subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management or Congress.

When an employee has a complaint related to possible FMLA violations, he/she should file the complaint with the Wage and Hour Division or file a private lawsuit against the employer in a court of law.7

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Legal References

  1. 29 CFR § 825; NAC 284.52345; FMLA Overview for State of Nevada Executive Branch Agencies; FMLA, U.S. Department of Labor.
  2. NAC 284.5811; 26 CFR § 825.104; 29 USCS § 2611.
  3. NAC 284.566; NAC 284.578; State v. Ludwick, 440 P.3d 43, 135 Nev. Adv. Rep. 12 (2019)("29 C.F.R. § 825.303(c) (2018) provides that '[w]hen the need for leave is not foreseeable, an employee must comply with the employer's usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave, absent unusual circumstances[.]")
  4. NAC 284.558.
  5. 29 CFR § 825.214.
  6. 29 CFR § 825.
  7. NAC 284.581.

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