When medical emergencies and family issues arise, everything else in your life often takes the back burner. You are right to prioritize your health and your loved ones over your work responsibilities, but the last thing you want to worry about is losing your job as a result.
Because you cannot be in two places at once, the federal government created the FMLA.
What is the FMLA?
FMLA stands for Family and Medical Leave Act. Lawmakers created this act to allow you to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid time off to manage your health or help a family member without forfeiting your job or group healthcare benefits. Under the FMLA, you do not have to use the allotted twelve weeks consecutively.
Who is eligible for FMLA coverage?
To be eligible for FMLA coverage, you must work for a covered employer. Examples of covered employers include government agencies, public and private K-12 schools and private employers who employ 50 or more people in a 75-mile radius. You must work for an eligible employer for 12 months or longer and complete 1,250 work hours for the employer in the 12 months preceding your time off. Examples of covered circumstances include:
- Birthing and caring for a child
- Becoming an adoptive or foster parent
- Recovering from a serious illness
- Caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition
Your employer may ask for certification to verify your need for time off but must grant you 12 months of unpaid leave and allow you to return to your job or a similar position with equivalent benefits and pay if you meet the criteria for FMLA coverage.