FMLA vs Sick Leave: Difference and Comparison

People might get sick during their work. For this, they can ask leave from their employers if they have any proper reason for it.

There are two ways available for this. One is FMLA, and the other one is Sick Leave.

Different rules are available to get them, but the main aim is to get leave when they are sick and can’t attend office. 

Key Takeaways

  1. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid, job-protected leave for eligible employees, while sick leave offers paid time off for personal or family illnesses.
  2. FMLA covers serious health conditions, childbirth, adoption, or caring for an immediate family member, while sick leave focuses on short-term illnesses or medical appointments.
  3. FMLA guarantees up to 12 weeks of annual leave, whereas sick leave duration varies depending on the employer and local laws.

FMLA vs Sick Leave

FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family and medical reasons, protecting their job and employer’s benefits. Sick leave is a type of paid leave that allows employees to take time off from work when they are ill or need to care for a sick family member.

FMLA vs Sick Leave

FMLA is an unpaid leave guaranteed to employees with serious health conditions. During this period, their job will be safe, and they can get all the employment benefits during their leave period.

The employer cannot deny FMLA as it is against the law. If all the papers are proper, then that person will be guaranteed FMLA without any denial.

Sick leave is provided for employees when they ask them to the company based on their illness. There is no law to deny people from asking for sick leave.

But before asking, you need to provide proof of your illness and proceed so that the process will occur faster.

To apply for sick leave, you must write a leave letter and your medical certificate. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFMLASick Leave
DefinitionIt is family and medical leave which can be given to all the employees and it is mandatoryIt is a short term leave and can be taken by the employees based on their decision and it is not mandatory
Job guaranteeThe employee will have the job even after returning from the holidayThere will be no guarantee for the employee in the job
SalaryThey will provide only unpaid leaveThey will provide leave along with compensation
Introduced byPresident ClintonGovernor Jerry Brown

What is FMLA?

The expansion of FMLA is the Family and medical leave act. It is an unpaid leave provided for employees when there is a specific reason.

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They will provide leave for up to 12 weeks. During this period, their job will be protected. The employee will not lose their job after returning from their leave.

But to get FMLA, you need to fulfil some requirements. During their leave period, another employer should cover for them.

They should have worked at least 12 months before taking this kind of leave and also completed 1 250 hours in their work.

They should work at a location where the employees should be more than 50. They should also work within 75 miles of their house. A father can take FMLA leave when their child is born.

These are some of the requirements to be fulfilled to get FMLA. They need to speak with their employer about this to get the money during their leave period.

In some special cases, they might get money for their leave.

Most people use FMLA when their health condition is not good, their partner is giving birth to the child, or some of their family members have any serious health condition.

In these cases, they can get FMLA processed faster. An employee or a doctor will fill out the FMLA form and take it to the next level. You need not fill by yourself.

You need to contact the doctor and ask them to fill out the form. 

What is Sick Leave?

Sick leave is given to employees when they are sick and not able to attend the office. They will be given leave along with their salary.

It is not like unpaid leave. They will be given leave to stay at home to take care of their health without losing pay.

There are some rules and regulations available to get sick leave. Employees should have worked for at least 12 months to get 3 days of sick leave. 

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This period will differ from country to country. In some countries, they will calculate the number of hours they have worked instead of calculating the days.

Flu is one of the most commonly accepted sick leave because most bosses think their employees should rest instead of coming to the office.

If they come to the office, they might also spread it to some other people. Some other commonly accepted reasons are back pain and stress-related diseases. 

In some workplaces, they will provide sick leave as their workplace policy. While in some companies, it will be granted if the employees ask them.

An employer can also confirm whether the person is suffering from any illness. There is no law available to put restrictions on this.

An employee can get a maximum of 10 sick leave for a year. But if you exceed the given amount of time, they might refuse to pay you as per their company rules. 

Main Differences Between FMLA and Sick Leave

  1. The maximum number of days a person can get FMLA is 12 weeks. On the other hand, the maximum number of days for sick leave is 10 days.
  2. During FLMA, employees will not be paid for their leave. On the other hand, during sick leave, employees will be paid.
  3. You will not lose your job when you take FMLA. On the other hand, if you exceed the given time limit of your sick leave, you might risk your job.
  4. FMLA was introduced in the year 1993. On the other hand, sick leave was introduced in the year 2014.
  5. FMLA was introduced by President Clinton. On the other hand, sick leave was introduced by Governor Jerry Brown.
Difference Between FMLA and Sick Leave

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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7 thoughts on “FMLA vs Sick Leave: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I’m so glad this was clarified for everyone. I’ve always wondered about the difference between FMLA and sick leave.


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