According to the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave to employees when faced with personal or family illness, or other medical conditions. The employee receives job protection while on leave to ensure they have stable employment when ready to return.
FMLA regulations are often confusing, and it is important to understand them, so you can make the most of your rights. Here are a few things to consider when taking FMLA leave.
When am I allowed to use FMLA leave?
Eligible employees may take FMLA to leave to care for their own health or the health of a family member suffering from a chronic, serious health condition. According to the regulations, qualifying health conditions must require periodic treatments from a healthcare provider at least twice per year, continue for an extended period, and cause incapacity, either on an ongoing basis or episodically.
New parents can also qualify for FMLA leave. New mothers and fathers receive up to 12 weeks of leave after the birth of a child.
Who qualifies for FMLA?
You must work at least 1,250 hours during the preceding 12 months for an employer who is eligible. You must also work at a place that employs 50 or more workers who live within 75 miles of the place of work. You must also have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, but not necessarily consecutively.
How much notice should I give my workplace before taking leave?
Workers should give at least 30 days’ notice whenever possible, such as leading up to the birth of a child. In other cases, employers must provide notice as soon as is practically possible, even on the same day in some cases. Employers must use their discretion when it comes to notice, as dealing with illness can result in unexpected occurrences.
When providing notice, employees must provide information on the nature of the issue, the length of their expected absence, and other pertinent information. While workers do not need to present medical records, they must provide medical certification if requested.