Upon return from a leave covered by the FMLA, employees are entitled to their original positions or an equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits. Restoration can be denied to salaried employees who are among the highest paid 10% of the employees. When you take a leave, you do not commit yourself to return.
The employer must continue to pay the employee’s medical insurance during the leave. If the employee decides not to return, the employer may be able to recover the premiums paid.
An employer is prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of any right provided by the FMLA. Discharging or discriminating against any person for exercising their rights, for opposing unlawful practices or for involvement in any proceeding under or related to the FMLA are also illegal acts.
State or local law may grant greater family or medical leave rights. Unions may bargain for more leave or for paid leave. Employers may adopt more generous policies. You may have greater rights from these sources, but you cannot have less rights than the FMLA provides.
The FMLA is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. An employee may also file a private lawsuit against the employer for violations. The statute of limitations is two years, but three years in the event of willful violations. Damages include back pay, benefits, reimbursements for costs of providing care if continue insurance was denied, interest, an additional amount equal to lost wages and benefits (unless the employer acted in good faith and had reasonable grounds for believing it was not in violation of the FMLA), attorney’s fees and costs.