Federal Sector: Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act
Federal government employees are entitled to different types of leave as compared to employees of state and local governments and the private sector. This article discusses a little known source of leave protection for federal government employees: the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act.
Protections Under The Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave ActThe Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act, Public Law 103-388, went into effect in 1994. The Act allows covered full-time employees to use up to 40 hours of sick leave per year to "give care or otherwise attend to a family member having an illness, injury, or other condition which, if an employee had such condition, would justify the use of sick leave by such an employee" or "for purposes relating to the death of a family member, including to make arrangements for or attend the funeral of such family member." Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act, 1994 Enacted H.R. 4361, 103 Enacted H.R. 4361, 108 Stat. 4079, 4080. An employee can use up to an additional 64 hours of sick leave if he or she maintains a balance of at least 80 hours of sick leave. Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act, 1994 Enacted H.R. 4361, 103 Enacted H.R. 4361, 108 Stat. 4079, 4080.
The Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act Versus The Family And Medical Leave ActThe Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualifying employees where the leave is taken related to pregnancy, childbirth, adoption of a child, or a serious health condition of the employee or the employee's immediate family member. 29 C.F.R. ? 825.100. Unlike the FMLA, which requires a serious medical condition or the birth/adoption of a child to apply, the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act provides for use of sick leave if an employee's family member is ill as long as the employee would be eligible to use sick leave if he or she had same illness. Additionally, the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act allows for the use of sick leave for bereavement-related purposes, which the FMLA does not.
Allegations Of Discrimination Related To Denial Of LeaveIn Russel D. v. Department of Justice, the employee requested to use 80 hours of sick leave under the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act to care for his child, who had special needs. EEOC App. No. 0120152026 (Aug. 15, 2017). The agency denied his request for leave. Id. As a result, the employee filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging that the Agency's decision to deny his leave request for discriminatory. See id. When discussing the employee's discrimination claim, the Commission noted, that "[i]ndividuals who are caregivers to either children or the elderly may face sex-based disparate treatment in the workplace in violation of Title VII." Id. (citing EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, EEOC Notice No. 915.002, 8-12 (May 23, 2007)). However, it determined that the agency's decision to deny the employee's leave request was legitimate because he did not submit sufficient medical documentation. Id.
ConclusionDifferent protections related to leave apply to employees of the federal government, including entitlement to leave under the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act. A firm experienced in representing federal government employees in federal sector discrimination complaints, such as the Wick Law Office, can help an employee navigate the leave requesting process and assist in filing an EEO complaint if necessary.