Understand your rights with the Family and Medical Leave Act

Imagine that your wife is badly injured in a car accident. You have two weeks of vacation that you can take from work, which allows you to be paid in full despite having to be away from the job. After that, though, you have no way to cover your losses. Worse than that is that you could lose your job if you miss too much time.

That's not all true thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), though, if you qualify. The FMLA is designed to give eligible employees time to take unpaid, job-protected leave. While it won't resolve your ability to get paid while away, you will be guaranteed that you can return to your job as if you had not taken leave at all.

Who qualifies for Family and Medical Leave?

Employees who qualify for FMLA leave include those who:

  • Need to take up to 12 weeks off within a year to take care of a newborn
  • Need to take up to 12 weeks off work to care for a child placed in the home due to foster or adoption
  • Have a serious health condition and need to take off work for up to 12 weeks
  • Have a direct family member who is a military member on covered active duty who has been hurt or who needs care (up to 12 weeks)

Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single year to care for a service member if they are qualified to take military caregiver leave. Since Feb. 23, 2015, those in same-sex marriages have been qualified to take FMLA leave as well.

Our site has more on the FMLA and what it takes to qualify.

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