FMLA – Can I Fire An Employee For Extended Sick Leaves?

By September 16, 2013Business Law

FMLANo business owner finds the task of firing an employee pleasant; this is especially true when the employee is dealing with health issues. However, as Attorney Stacie Rosenzweig explains “if you end up keeping an employee on the payroll who is not capable of performing his or her job duties, this can also be damaging to the business as a whole”. This is particularly true for most small businesses, where the cost of one employee makes up a large percentage of revenue. Before attempting to fire an employee who has been taking extended sick days off from work, business owners should ensure that they are aware of their rights and the rights of the ill employee.

FMLA Eligibility

To be eligible under the FMLA Law an employee must have worked for the business for at least 12 months, clocked at least 1250 hours over the last 12 months and worked at a location where the business has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius.

It is critical that small business owners realize that even if the business is not required to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, they might still be required to comply with state employment laws. These laws could be similar or stricter to the FMLA.

FMLA – Can I Fire An Employee For Extended Sick Leaves?

Business owners are not required to provide compensation for sick leaves, according to the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act). However, business owners should become familiar with the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). According to the FMLA Guidelines, employees are provided with up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave for certain medical situations for either the employee or a member of their immediate family.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, small business owners are required to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year in the following situations:

  • The birth and care of the employee’s newborn child
  • Placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • When caring for an immediate family member with serious health conditions. This includes a spouse, child or parent.
  • If an employee becomes unable to work due to a serious health condition.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.


  • The FMLA law has been extremely helpful for those in need. Sometimes you just can’t control your situation, its good to know there is protection out there to help you keep your job if need be.

  • Ryan Byars says:

    It can be really inconvenient for a business owner, but having the FMLA law is extremely beneficial for employees. Very informative!

  • It’s a tough situation, that’s for sure. It’s not fair to the employee, but at a certain point the business suffers. And how can you know if the sick excuses are legitimate? Especially dealing with younger employees.

  • Matt Pullen says:

    I’ve known many business owners who understand the issues an employee has, but there always comes a point where a decision needs to be made on whether the person not being there is harmful for the business as a whole.

  • Mark Kastein says:

    As a business grows, it’s important to keep an eye on the requirements for FMLA. No business wants to be in violation of their regulations, even if it is by accident.

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