FMLA Regulations in North Carolina

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In North Carolina, all employees must adhere to the rules of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows eligible employees to take time off from work for family and medical reasons. Along with the federal guidelines, employers must also follow several enhancements the North Carolina state government enacted.

Federal Guidelines

Under the federal FMLA rules, employers that must adhere to the regulations include:

  • Any private-sector employers with 50 or more employees 
  • All public agencies, including local, state and Federal, with any number of employees
  • All public or private elementary or secondary schools, with any number of employees

To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must:

  • Be employed with that particular employer for at least 12 months
  • Have at least 1,250 hours of employment with that employer during the previous 12 months
  • Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

The FMLA is for 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave, depending on the employer. Military caregiver leave gives you 26 weeks of leave to care for a relative in the military if the relative is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member. FMLA gives an employee time off for:

  • Childbirth and pregnancy
  • Adoption and foster care 
  • Care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition
  • Own serious medical condition
  • Military caregiver duties

North Carolina Enhancements

In addition to the federal FMLA rules, all employers in North Carolina, regardless of the number of employees or public or private status, must also follow two additional regulations. With both laws, the employee must still adhere to the employer's normal absence policies.

Domestic Violence Leave

The Domestic Violence Leave law rules that an employer in North Carolina cannot fire, demote or discipline any employee who takes a reasonable amount of time off to get an order of protection for domestic violence for herself or a minor child.

Small Necessities Law

Under the Small Necessities Law, any North Carolina employee has a right to four hours of unpaid time off a year to use for a child's school activities. The employer does have the right to ask for 48 hours notice of an employee's absence and require a written note from the school vouching that the employee attended a certain event.


School activities include those at any daycare facility, preschool, or public, private or religious school.