The FMLA may protect your job while you care for loved ones

Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), covered employers are required to provide employees with unpaid, job-protected leave if faced with qualifies family or medical reasons. After taking leave, the employee should be able to return to their position as if they'd never left.

The amount of time allowed to be taken under the FMLA is limited, which helps protect employers while still allowing employees to get the time they need to help their families or deal with medical crises.

How much time can you take off work under the FMLA?

The FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks off within a 12-month period in most cases, but you can get up to 26 weeks of leave if you are leaving your job to care for a covered member of the U.S. military with a serious illness or injury and you are directly related to them.

Are same-sex couples covered under the FMLA?

Yes, since February 23, 2015, the term "spouse" has been altered to include those in same-sex relationships with the injured or ill party. This allows spouses in same-sex couples to take the same time off as those in heterosexual relationships.

Generally speaking, the majority of people use all paid time off, including sick time, personal time and vacation time, before they turn to FMLA-protected time off work. You may want to speak with your employer if you need to take significant time off work. If they refuse to hold your position, you can reach out to your attorney to find out if you should qualify for FMLA protections.

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